Why is physical activity important?

Physical activity is any type of movement that that requires more energy than when resting, it can often be unintentional such as walking to work, gardening, or doing household chores. Exercise, however, is more than this and is usually a planned and structured activity. Think of it this way: exercise is always physical activity but not all physical activity is exercise. 

Moving and being active is really good for us, especially as we get older. It can help with the prevention and management of many illnesses including cardiovascular disease (see our section on Heart health), type-2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer (see our section on Cancer) and many more.

In the video on the left, you can watch Professor Cassandra Szoeke discuss findings from a study that tracked the health and wellbeing of older women for more than 30 years. On the right we have included a video from Active Ageing, in which people discussing what they love about keeping physically active as they get older.

When we are active, we can move around easier, have better balance and recover from illness faster. This helps us maintain our independence for daily activities (see our section on Independence).  

Being active is not just good for our physical health, it’s great for our mental health too (see our section on Mental health). Physical activity is known to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, boost our moods and improve our sleep quality. Not to mention, it’s a great way to meet people, make friends, learn new things and feel good about ourselves! 


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