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Physical inactivity is the fourth greatest cause of ill health in the UK1. It is implicated in one in six deaths, the same as smoking.
Up to 40% of long term health conditions could be prevented by reduced inactivity2 and adults who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long term conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers. In addition, we know being active boosts self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the risk of stress3.
In Surrey almost one in five people - over 190,000 adults - are classified as wholly ‘inactive’, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, per week. This puts them at higher risk of developing long-term health conditions. (County trends and results by borough, can be found in our 'Active Lives' charts).
For those who are inactive, are disabled, have a health condition, are pregnant, or are older or frail, any amount of movement is of benefit4,5 and there is usually no need to gain 'permission' from health professionals provided patients start gradually.
Please refer to the different guidelines for the physical activity needed for general health benefits at different life stages.
Physical activity for children and young people: 5 to 18 years - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 20196
Physical activity for early years: birth to 5 years - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 20196
Physical activity for disabled children and disabled young people - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Disabled Children and Disabled Young People 20226
Physical activity for adults and older adults: 19 and over - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 20196
Physical activity for disabled adults - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 20196
Physical activity for pregnant women - - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, 20196
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1. Why Moving Matters - Moving Medicine
2. Everybody active, every day, An evidence-based approach to physical activity Framework_13.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)
3. Benefits of exercise - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
4. Public Health England. Physical activity for general health benefits in disabled adults: Summary of a rapid evidence review for the UK Chief Medical Officers’ update of the physical activity guidelines. London; 2018.
5. Smith R, Reid H, Matthews A, Calderwood C, Knight M, Foster C, et al. Infographic: physical activity for pregnant women. Br J Sports Med. 2018;52(8):532-3
6. Physical activity guidelines - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)