The benefits of moving more
Moving more has exceptional benefits for us, our families, our communities and our economy. As well as being vitally important for our health and wellbeing, physical activity is hugely powerful in so many other ways, too. So what are the key benefits of being active, and how can moving more contribute to Oxfordshire's wider health and social issues?
Moving more: the impact on our health & wellbeing
We know that physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for long term health conditions and death worldwide. Low physical activity is one of the top 10 causes of disease and disability in England.
Here's a snapshot of why moving more can transform Oxfordshire's health and wellbeing:
- Supporting inactive people to become more active could prevent one in ten cases of stroke and heart disease in the UK.
- Strengthening activity can help prevent muscle mass loss, which is associated with frailty and falls risk, reducing the risk of hip fractures by 68%.
- Regular physical activity reduces all cause mortality by 30%, cardiovascular disease by up to 35%, diabetes by up to 40%, depression by up to 30% and reduces the risk of some cancers.
- In people aged over 60 health benefits can be seen from achieving as few as 3000 steps per day.
- Moving more can also improve your mental wellbeing, self-esteem and sleep quality, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression and dementia.
The benefits outweigh the risks
A new consensus statement from health experts has confirmed that physical activity is safe, and the benefits outweigh the risks - even for people living with symptoms of multiple conditions. This is a hugely important message for health professionals and for residents, and provides peace of mind that taking part in physical activity will always be of benefit.
The consensus statement was led by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK and supported by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
Moving more: the impact on our communities
Community activities and sport play a key role in our lives across Oxfordshire. Our local sports and community clubs do a fantastic job in bringing people together and reducing social isolation. This became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when grassroots sports clubs, community centres and leisure centres provided emergency food bank support to hundreds of residents.
Physical activity brings people together. Through Oxfordshire's Park Runs, health walks and sports club activities, people of all different ages and backgrounds can come together. This level of community cohesion is vitally important to help ensure that Oxfordshire is a welcoming, inclusive place to live and enjoy being active.
Sport and activity enable people to have fun, make friends, be healthy and build stronger community connections. Activity also has an especially pivotal role to play in levelling up communities, by bridging the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Today, this value – otherwise known as the combined 'social community development' impact – of sport and physical activity is estimated at £20bn to the UK. But that's nowhere near its full potential.