Benefits of getting active
There's a basic fact: the fitter you are, the greater your ability to stay healthy. It's as simple as that. 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week can really transform your life and perhaps even your life expectancy. If you can't fit in a single chunk of 30 minutes, you can break up the way that you get active throughout your day and incorporate it into your daily life.
Being more active - whether it's a brisk walk or a trip to the gym - will reduce the risk of suffering from life-threatening diseases.
Your heart, your lungs, your bones - they all work better when you get active. People who aren't active are far more likely to die prematurely. Activity enhances and protects your brain function. Activity can help you manage painful conditions. Plus you get to look good and feel great
The physical inactivity associated with a sedentary lifestyle has been described as the 'biggest public health problem of the 21st century'. The Lancet recently described it as a public health pandemic. Data suggest that sedentary lifestyles are associated with all cause mortality, non-insulin dependent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Getting active has further shown to reduce the risk of various cancers, the mechanisms behind osteoporosis and ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. The World Health Report estimates that around 3% of the disease burden in developed countries is caused by physical inactivity and that over 20% of coronary heart disease and 10% of stroke in developed countries is due to physical inactivity. 2012 will mark the first year in which modelling suggests more people will die across the globe as a result of conditions linked to obesity than they will from malnourishment.
The economic consequences are severe; in the UK the total annual cost to the National Health Service for diseases of which high Body Mass Index (BMI) is a risk factor was estimated at £17.4 Billion in 2007 and is modelled to grow to £50 billion by 2050.
Despite this knowledge and the consequent dissemination of minimum activity levels by, for example, the Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom (i.e., Start Active, Stay Active., 2011), the majority of adults fail to reach minimum recommended activity levels. Inactivity is a norm.
Such is the scale of the benefit to be accrued by getting the UK active, we have to put our first foot forward and get moving.