Physical Activity

Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths (equal to smoking) 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. 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