Be Active every day in as many ways as YOU can!
Physical Activity is for everyone, any level of activity is better for your health than none.
Regular physical activity is the key to getting healthy and staying healthy yet studies show that few Irish people take part in regular physical activity. The National Survey of Lifestyles Attitudes and Nutrition (Slán 2007) showed that only 41 of Irish adults took part in moderate or strenuous physical activity for at least 20 minutes three or more times a week. This level of activity has not changed over the past 10 years.
Adults start to get health benefits from 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking. This means an average of 30 minutes of activity five days a week. Children and young people need at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity.
Physical Activity benefits every aspect of your health. Regular physical activity reduces many health risks for everyone. As you get more active, more often and for longer, you reduce your risk of chronic disease.
The healthcare system would benefit from reduced costs if people became more active. An Australia study estimated that if Australian people became more active for just 30 minutes per day, it could save $1.5 billion (€815 million) a year in costs. The level of inactivity in Ireland is even higher than in Australia, so the possible cost benefits of increased activity may be even greater.
Benefits of Physical Activity
- Regular physical activity will improve your health and well-being as well as reduce the risk of developing chronic illness.
- The health benefits of physical activity increase as your level of activity increases.
- Some physical activity is better than none. The more you do, the more benefits you gain.
- Be active for reasons that are important to you – personalise the benefits of regular physical activity.
- Choose physical activities that you enjoy to maximise your chances of staying active.
Self-belief is the confidence that you can be physically active. This is an important factor in motivating other people around you to be more active. Choose role models that you or your group can relate to, ideally role models of a similar ability.
- Physical Activity – Who says it has to be hard?
- ‘If I can do it, you can too.’
- Choose an activity you enjoy, there are plenty of options. Cycling, Swimming, Dancing, Running etc.
- Start slowly and set goals to increase your chance of success.
- Keep an activity diary, or use a pedometer and aim to increase the number of steps you take each day.
Promote Social Support
Having support from your family and friends makes it easier to be active. Physical activity is fun and enjoyable.
- It is more fun to exercise with a friend
- There are many people and organisations near you that offer opportunities and support to help you
- If you are trying to change your behaviour – don’t do it alone. Ask your family and friends to join you.
- Getting active as a family is a great way to encourage children to build good activity habits for life.
- Give children active gifts such as toys and equipment that encourage physical activity.
How to fit physical activity into everyday life
- You don’t have to do it all at once, build up 30 minutes by being active for at least 10 minutes a number of times a day
- For children, all activity, no matter how short, counts towards their 60 minutes
- Fun and enjoyment is important
- Be active your way!
Ref: The National Guidelines of Physical Activity for Ireland, HSE and Department of Health & Children