Physical activity has huge benefits for wellbeing. Benefits that go a lot deeper than physical and mental health.
When we take part in physical activity, we develop skills that help in every aspect of life. We find new friends, and we grow in confidence. We reconnect with ourselves. And we get our lives back on track.
From a health perspective, the case for physical activity is clear:
- It lowers the risk of conditions including cancer, dementia, heart disease and stroke
- It can lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30-40%
- It boosts mental wellbeing, reduces anxiety and depression, connects people, and enhances happiness and self-esteem
- It helps people living with chronic illness to manage their condition
- It plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy body weight, getting a good night’s sleep, and feeling more energised
- And it can help you cut back on unhealthy habits like smoking, so that you live better, for longer
But many barriers prevent people from taking their first step. Lack of time or motivation can discourage us. Or we may feel too self-conscious to try something new. Perhaps health issues, disabilities or cultural reasons stop us from engaging. Or we can’t stretch to the cost of training shoes.
NASP has partnered with Sport England to embed physical activity in social prescribing. So that more people can live healthier, happier lives, one step at a time.
If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.
That physical movement just taps into different parts of you that you’ve forgotten about.
How Can I Find Out More, Get Involved, or Get Help?
If you’re a local voluntary, community, faith, or social enterprise organisation…
Join our Thriving Communities network. This will enable you to find out about social prescribing in your area, and to connect with the health system. Visit your regional page to find out more.
If you’re a community football trust, NASP will be launching a programme called More than a Game, to help to connect you to the health system.
If you need support for yourself or a loved one…
Speak to your GP and ask to see a link worker. Remember, physical activity doesn’t have to feel like exercise. A link worker will help you start where you are today and find a way that suits you to be active.
You can also find lots of advice, information, and support at We Are Undefeatable. This is a movement supporting people with long-term health conditions to get active.
If you’re looking for more online information, resources, and evidence…
Visit our evidence page where you will find our new evidence briefing on physical activity.
- Watch our webinar about physical activity and social prescribing
- Listen to the physical activity episode of our Podcast on Prescription
- Read the 2019 physical activity guidelines from the UK’s Chief Medical Officer
- Read our evidence briefing on physical activity and social prescribing
- Download our toolkits, reports, and guidance about social prescribing