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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health
The Public Health England team leading this policy transitioned into the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) on 1 October 2021.
This guide is part of ‘All Our Health’, a resource which helps health professionals prevent ill health and promote wellbeing as part of their everyday practise. The information below will help front-line health and care staff use their trusted relationships with patients, families and communities to promote the benefits of physical activity.
We also recommend important actions that managers and staff holding strategic roles can take.
View the full range of ‘All Our Health’ topics
Access the physical activity e-learning session
An interactive e-learning version of this topic is now available to use.
The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and Health Education England’s ‘e-Learning for Healthcare’ have developed this content to increase the confidence and skills of health and care professionals, to embed prevention in their day-to-day practise.
Physical inactivity is associated with 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually (including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone).
Unfortunately, our population is around 20% less active than in the 1960s. If current trends continue, it will be 35% less active by 2030.
Many people don’t realise that physical activity has significant benefits for health, both physical and mental, and can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Around 1 in 3 (34%) of men and 1 in 2 (42%) of women are not active enough for good health.
Men are more likely to report being active at the recommended level than women.
Physical activity varies with age and life stage. People tend to get less active with age, especially in older years.
And people with disabilities or long-term conditions are twice as likely not to be active enough for good health.
However, one in four people would be more active if advised by a healthcare professional so this presents a unique opportunity for you to support people to be more active.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines recommend each week adults do:
- at least 150 minutes moderate intensity activity, 75 minutes’ vigorous activity, or a mixture of both
- strengthening activities on two days
- reducing extended periods of sitting
Core principles for healthcare professionals
This ‘All Our Health’ physical activity information has been created to help all health professionals:
- understand specific activities and interventions that can prevent physical inactivity
- think about the resources and services available in your area that can help people get active
If you’re a front-line health professional:
- speak to your patients about the benefits of physical activity and risks of inactivity, referring them to information or services if necessary
- read our blogs about brief advice, motivational interviewing and health coaching to help you have non-judgemental conversations tailored to individual patients
- find out about the resources and services in your area that can help people get active, such as local referral pathways, including exercise/activity on referral schemes
- make yourself familiar with local physical activity options, for example local Walking for Health schemes
- read our blogs about the type of local services that may be available and how to find them
- familiarise yourself with key physical activity messages and understand where to access trusted advice for your patients – we recommend NHS Choices which has information for adults, older people, children and people with disabilities
- promote physical activity campaigns like Change4Life (information for children) and Better Health (for adults aged 40 to 60)
- offer online activities or health apps such as Better Health’s ACTIVE10 which encourages 10 minutes of brisk walking every day or ‘Couch to 5k’ which helps people take up running
- become a physical activity role model; increasing your own activity levels will improve your own health and make it easier for you to discuss physical activity with other people
If you’re a team leader or manager:
- ensure the teams you manage are aware of physical activity services and interventions in your local area
- promote a team culture where staff know that they should talk to their patients about healthy lifestyles – ‘Making Every Contact Count’ initiatives should include physical activity
- create a culture where all staff understand the benefits of measuring their impact and demonstrating the value of their work
- consider working within your own organisation, or with local businesses, to promote active workplaces
- encourage high-level, executive staff to act as physical activity role models
If you’re a senior or strategic leader:
- work to ensure physical activity is promoted prominently within commissioned healthcare services
- include physical activity in health and wellbeing boards’ Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)
- consider the physical activity needs of the local workforce to create a culture change towards a more active workforce
- look at the education and training needs of the workforce, to equip them to deliver high-quality physical activity advice and interventions
- encourage high-level, executive staff to act as physical activity role models
Understanding local needs
The Physical Activity Data Sources document provides information on what can be found in each data source, including geographical areas reported (including national, regional and local authority), demographics of respondents (age, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic status, religion, disability) and frequency of updates to the data.
The 2 main sources of national level physical activity data are the Health Survey for England (HSE) and the Active Lives Survey (ALS).
The HSE is used by central government to monitor trends in the national physical activity estimates, with most recent data available from HSE 2016. Data from ALS is used for the Public Health Outcomes Framework and Physical Activity tools to support local monitoring of performance against the government’s Sport Strategy and Chief Medical Officer guidelines, with PHE producing physical activity estimates for each local authority in England.
As a health professional there are a range of reasons why it makes sense to measure your impact and demonstrate the value of your contribution. This could be about sharing what has worked well in order to benefit your colleagues and local people, or help you with your professional development.
The general practice physical activity questionnaire (GPPAQ) is a simple, validated screening tool to assess adult physical activity and the associated risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality within primary care.
The Everyday Interactions measuring impact toolkit provides a quick, straightforward and easy way for health care professionals to record and measure their public health impact in a uniform and comparable way.
The physical activity impact pathway is recommended for healthcare professionals to record and measure actions undertaken as part of routine care which impact on physical activity levels.
Further reading, resources and good practice
Advice for patients and the public
- NHS Choices has a range of information and support to help people get and keep fit
- Better Health has information and support to help people stay active
- Active 10 app helps individuals build 10 minutes of brisk walking into their routine
- Couch to 5k helps people take up running
- the Activity Alliance provides advice for disabled people to get active
Professional resources and tools
The UK CMOs’ Start active, stay active report on physical activity provides detail and evidence on the recommended guidelines for physical activity and is supported by a number of infographics showing the guidelines and the benefits, including:
- physical activity for pregnant women infographic and evidence briefing
- physical activity for children and young people (aged 5 to 18)
- physical activity for early years (birth to 5 years old)
- physical activity for disabled adults
OHID has created a longer-length physical activity and health e-learning course to help healthcare professionals to champion physical activity across the life course. The course covers the science, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines, the underpinning evidence base and how to incorporate physical activity into daily clinical care. It also includes a resource on motivational interviewing.
NICE guidance and pathways are available to support evidence based practice to promote physical activity.
OHID and BMJ Learning have published 8 modules on physical activity in the treatment of long-term conditions, as well as one on motivational interviewing in brief consultations.
OHID provides free peer training and online resources to healthcare professionals, via the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme, to empower them with the skills and confidence to have quality conversations with patients about physical activity.
Moving Medicine is a free, online resource for healthcare professionals to promote and support patients with long-term conditions to get more active. Led by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM), in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England, the toolkit provides what is needed for a 1-minute, 5-minute and longer conversations with patients.
Macmillan Cancer Support’s Move More is a guide to helping people with cancer to be more active, with ongoing digital support.
Parkrun organises free weekly 5k run events.
Good practice examples
- The ‘Everybody active, every day’ framework to embed physical activity into daily life includes:
- ‘Everybody active, every day: what works, the evidence’ to support a range of interventions
- ‘Identifying what works for local physical inactivity interventions’ summarises the methods and findings of a national call for local practice to increase physical activity
- Everybody active, every day: 5 years on shows how the strategy has been implemented
- ‘Moving at scale – promising practice and practical guidance on evaluation of physical activity programmes in the UK’ is a national review of local case studies by ukactive Research Institute, the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and PHE
What is physical activity so important for health and well-being? ›
Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.What is physical activity * Your answer? ›
Physical activity can be defined as any movement of the body that requires energy expenditure. This includes any motion you do through the day excluding sitting still or lying down.How can you contribute to your overall health? ›
Get regular exercise.
Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer. It can help treat depression, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. People who exercise also get injured less often. Routine exercise can make you feel better and keep your weight under control.
Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.How physical activities are important in our life essay? ›
Answer 1: Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. When you exercise daily, you lower the risk of developing some diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. It also helps to keep your body at a healthy weight.How can you apply physical fitness in your daily life essay? ›
Being fit can improve your cardiovascular health, especially your heart and lungs. By keeping those two things healthy you can reduce the risk of certain health problems. Also your longevity of life is increased because all of your organs are healthier and you are healthier as a result.What is the most important in doing physical activity *? ›
Physical activity promotes better blood flow, stabilizes blood pressure levels, helps maintain a healthy weight, and healthy cholesterol; all contributing to preventing diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.What are 10 benefits of physical activity explain each benefit? ›
- Improve your memory and brain function (all age groups).
- Protect against many chronic diseases.
- Aid in weight management.
- Lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
- Improve your quality of sleep.
- Reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Combat cancer-related fatigue.
Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people.What is a good physical activity? ›
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yardwork and aerobic dancing.
What is a personal physical activity? ›
Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. Some of your daily life activities—doing active chores around the house, yard work, walking the dog—are examples.What are the 11 benefits of regular physical activity? ›
- Better heart health. ...
- Lower risk of some cancers. ...
- Lower risk of stroke. ...
- Stronger muscles and bones. ...
- More energy. ...
- Better mood and mental health. ...
- A sharper mind. ...
- Better sleep.
Regular exercise and physical activity promotes strong muscles and bones. It improves respiratory, cardiovascular health, and overall health. Staying active can also help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and reduce your risk for some cancers.What is the importance of good health? ›
Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing what is right for your body.How do you keep a healthy and fit paragraph? ›
Health and Fitness Paragraph 1
There is no alternate to the health and fitness, we have to eat healthy food timely, do physical exercises daily, think positive and have patience and commitment towards good lifestyle. Being involved in physical activities on daily basis does something great to our body and mind.
Physical activity helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improve your mood. . Physical activity helps maintain brain function in older adults. Physical activity helps with digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Physical activity increases bone density.How does physical exercises contributes to your overall health especially at this time of pandemic? ›
Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers - all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.What are 20 benefits of physical activity? ›
- Protects You From Cardiovascular Disease. Save. ...
- Aids Weight Loss. ...
- Reduces The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes. ...
- Strengthens Muscles And Bones. ...
- Reduces Stress. ...
- Effective Treatment For Depression And Anxiety. ...
- Lowers High Blood Pressure. ...
- Reduces Risk Of Cancer.
Healthy Active Lifestyle is a way of life that incorporates regular exercise and healthy nutrition to improve overall well being. It isn't about achieving peak performance or reaching elite-level athlete status. It's an approachable, maintainable way of life centered on holistic fitness.What are the 12 benefits of exercise? ›
- Better Mood. 1/12. Cranky? ...
- More Energy. 2/12. You might not expect it, but using energy to exercise gives you more get-up-and-go. ...
- Good Night's Sleep. 3/12. ...
- More Confidence. 4/12. ...
- Less Stress. 5/12. ...
- More Productive. 6/12. ...
- Weight Control. 7/12. ...
- Long Life. 8/12.
What are 15 benefits of physical activity? ›
- reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- manage your weight better.
- have a lower blood cholesterol level.
- lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
- have lower blood pressure.
- have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis.
- lower your risk of falls.
Sports certainly help the body remain fit and slim. Furthermore, Sports also improves the quality of bones. A person who plays sports will have strong bones even in old age. Several scientific research reports that Sports prevent many diseases.What are 10 physical activities? ›
- Water aerobics.
- Jogging and running.
- Aerobic exercise classes.
- Bicycle riding (stationary or on a path)
- Some gardening activities, such as raking and pushing a lawn mower.
Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.Why is exercise good for your health essay? ›
It is because you burn calories when you exercise. Further, it helps in developing your muscles. Thus, the rate of your body will increases which helps to burn calories. Moreover, it also helps in improving the oxygen level and blood flow of the body.What is the importance of physical activity in the new normal? ›
Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (such as speed-walking or jogging) has been shown to help reduce the use of alcohol and other substances. Additionally, participation in regular physical activity is shown to boost the immune system.What is the importance of physical activity essay? ›
Physical activity improves the cardiovascular and respiratory system. On a regular basis, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens the heart muscle. The heart's ability to pump blood to lungs and throughout your body is improved. oxygen levels in your blood rise as more blood flows to your muscles ...