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5 reasons we need to be more active

5 Reasons We Need To Be More Active

We all know that we need to be more active, but the thought and the action can sometimes be a challenge to get going. It’s almost crazy that for something that we know improves our wellbeing we can find getting active so challenging.

How much do I need?

The guidelines for physical activity advise:

  • Infants (not crawling) – For infants not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake (and other movements such as reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling themselves independently, or rolling over); more is better
  • Infants (crawling) – Infants should be physically active several times every day in a variety of ways, including interactive floor-based activity, e.g. crawling.
  • Toddlers (1-2 years) – Toddlers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including active and outdoor play, spread throughout the day; more is better.
  • Pre-schoolers (3-4 years) – Pre-schoolers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, including active and outdoor play. More is better;
  • Children & Teens (5-18 years) – Children and young people should engage in physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week. This can include all forms of activity such as physical education, active travel, after-school activities, play and sports.
  • Adults (19-65 years) – For good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still. Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running);
  • Older adults (65 years +) – Older adults should participate in daily physical activity to gain health benefits, including maintenance of good physical and mental health, wellbeing, and social functioning. Each week older adults should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, building up gradually from current levels. Those who are already regularly active can achieve these benefits through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.

Why do I need it?

Physical activity lends itself to many health benefits:

  • Improves brain function and memory
  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves emotional functioning
  • Increases productivity
  • Lowers stress and blood pressure
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces feelings linked to anxiety and low mood/depression
  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Improves physical fitness
  • Reduces risk of major illness including, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces risk of falls

So, in this article we look at 5 reasons why we need to be more active.

5 reasons to be more active:

#1 – It improves your mental health – Regular physical activity improves our mental health. The regular release of dopamine (reward), endorphins (euphoria) and serotonin (mood) improves our mood, our productivity and well-being. Consistent exercise can stabilise serotonin levels and this maintains mood and our sense of well-being.

#2 – It reduces stress – When we take part in regular exercise the consistent release of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins reduces stress (cortisol and adrenaline) in the body. Too much cortisol and adrenaline, from unmanaged stress, contributes to the fight-flight mode. Therefore, the more consistent you are with physical activity the lower the symptoms of anxiety/stress.

#3 – It helps us manage our thoughts – When we are prone to stress, anxiety and overthinking, it can be easy to stay indoors, trapped in bedrooms or on the sofa with electronics. However, when we consistently achieve exercise or physical related goals it boosts our confidence and sense of control, which has been found to reduce upsetting thoughts and lower depression.

#4 – It improves sleep – Our body needs to move. When we do not physically and mentally use our bodies to their potential, it can directly impact our sleep quality. Regular moderate to vigorous exercise has been found to improve the quality of sleep. Studies have found that when someone exercises consistently for 4 weeks or more it relates to their sleep quality and reduces symptoms associated with insomnia.

#5 – It increases our productivity – When we are fatigued, especially from looking at screens or working, or being sedentary all day, we can find that our productivity decreases. When we commit to a regular and consistent physical activity plan it reduces stress and fatigue and improves our well-being. This increases overall energy levels and motivation, which subsequently improves productivity.


Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit – ARTICLES 

To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit – COURSES 

For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit –RESOURCES 


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