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The health benefits of leading an active lifestyle are well established.  Recent evidence suggests that physical inactivity is as risky as smoking and ranks as one of the top ten causes for global mortality.  Physical activity has role to play for everyone, regardless of age, physical impairment or weight status.  Being active can help your patients lead more healthier and happier lives and can help them to manage a number of medical conditions.   

Recent guidance from the Chief Medical Office of the UK suggest that adults should be try to be active daily and build up to undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity across a week.  Moderate activity can be any activity which makes you get warmer, breathe harder and your heart to beat faster (e.g. walking, gardening, cycling or dancing.)  The guidelines also advocate for participation in activities which improve muscle strength on two days per week. This could be achieved by using body weight, resistance or weights. (e.g. Moving or carrying groceries, gardening or exercising with weights). The third recommendation is to encourage your patients to try to sit less, or break up long periods of sitting.    

Remember, any increase in physical activity is better than nothing and even 10 minutes at a time provides some benefit. 


Well there are a number of reasons: 

  • Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality accounting for 6% of deaths.  World Health Organisation (2010) Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health.
  • The financial burden of inactivity to the NHS across the UK is £1.06 billion (estimated direct costs).  Allender S, Foster C, Scarborough P and Raynew M (2007).  The burden of physical activity-related ill health in the UK.  Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 61:344-348 

It also reduces the risks of:

  • Type 2 diabetes by 40%
  • Cardiovascular disease by 35%
  • Falls, Depression and dementia by 30%
  • Joint and back pain by 25%
  • Cancers (colon and breast) by  20%
  • There are a range of other benefits including improving sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and improving quality of life 

Encourage your patients to sit less, and move more. The popular video "23 and 1/2 hours" by Dr Mike Evans, with over 5 million views on YouTube, says it all in an engaging and informative way.

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