Getting more people, more active, more often is a challenge to public health right around the globe. This is not surprising given that physical activity has been described as an underrated “wonder drug”. It is not difficult to see why when regular physical activity is a factor in weight control, improves mental health and well-being, strengthens bones & muscles, reduces the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease not to mention increases the probability of living longer!
UK research has found that only about 18% of the adult population are aware of the minimum amount of physical activity levels required to maintain health & wellbeing – 60 minutes a day for children & 30 minutes, 5 days a week for adults.
Physical activity is about more than sport. It involves active transport, environmental conditions that promote physical activity, awareness and education are just some of the factors. However, it is clear that sport has a key role to play of growing and contributing to physical activity in Ireland. Here are 5 reasons why:
- There is an increase in no. of days/weeks children hit the 60 min daily target if they take part in community based sport/physical activity
- People who are members of a club spend less sedentary time each day (4.7 hours v 4.0 hours)
- There would be a 26% reduction in obesity prevalence if all adolescents played on 2 sports teams per year
- Adolescents who are highly active in sport are 8 times more likely to be engaged in physical activity as young adults
- Adults are more likely to be physically active in their free time if they were involved in organised sport as children