Benefits of being active

Benefits for adults

We all know that leading an active lifestyle is good for us. If you participate in regular moderate physical activity, you can expect to enjoy numerous health and social benefits, including:

  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • reduced risk of developing high blood pressure
  • reduced blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
  • prevention of some cancers
  • reduced risk of becoming overweight
  • reduced risk of developing diabetes and prevention and treatment of non-insulin dependent diabetes – it has been estimated that 30 to 50 percent of new cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by appropriate physical levels of activity
  • better bone and muscle development and prevention of osteoporosis
  • improved muscle flexibility, strength and endurance
  • reduced risk of dying prematurely
  • reduced risk of falling, and improved mobility and strength for older adults
  • improved quality of sleep.

Physical activity can also help:

  • encourage social interaction
  • improve concentration and learning
  • increase personal confidence and self-awareness
  • reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • enhance self-esteem
  • improve quality of life.

Benefits for children and young people

The Australian Medical Association estimates that 20 to 25 percent of Australian children are either overweight or obese – this is an alarming health trend. The problem is that overweight children are more likely to turn into overweight adults who are often inactive and face a huge range of health problems.

Being active not only keeps children and young people fit and healthy, but provides all kinds of social, emotional and intellectual benefits.

Research shows that children doing regular physical activity can have:

  • improved emotional wellbeing – helps young children feel more confident, happy and relaxed, with improved self-esteem and self-concept
  • improved health – encourages healthy growth and development of children’s bodies, and similar benefits of physically active adults
  • improved mental health – improves concentration skills and ability to manage anxiety and stress
  • enhanced social skills – develops skills such as cooperation and teamwork, and a great way to have fun, meet new people and develop friendships
  • increased capacity for learning and productivity – active children are generally more motivated and better organised than children who are inactive, and physical activity has direct links to improved learning outcomes
  • a more positive school environment – active students are generally less aggressive and experience fewer discipline problems
  • a reduction in anti-social behaviour – active children are less likely to smoke, use illicit drugs or be involved in criminal activity.