Benefits of Physical Activity
Research supports the need for more unstructured, informal activity in everyone's life. Play is an essential part of childhood development.
- Play is spontaneous, accessible to all and low cost/free.
- Play occurs when you want, how you want and respects personal choice.
- Play brings families, neighbourhoods and communities together.
- Play requires little or no skill and no special equipment.
- Play is a universal concept and provides personal meaning to physical activity.
- Play can happen anywhere and does not require special facilities or organization.
- Play is well understood by children and can be shared with their families.
"Play is the lifeblood of childhood – it brings children joy, it nurtures and excites their creativity, it builds social skills and it strengthens their bodies." - from Silken Laumann’s book "Child’s PLAY"
Regular physical activity is essential to staying healthy. The benefits of physical activity are as follows:
- Helps maintain and increase muscle strength, improving balance, overall co-ordination, reaction time and flexibility. Some physical activities even improve mental concentration.
- Prevents muscle decay. Inactive people lose muscle fibre at a rate of 3% to 5% every decade after age 30. This amounts to a loss of 30% of muscle fibre by age 60.
- Increases tolerance to stress, improves mood and reduces the risk of depression and anxiety.
- Improves self-esteem and self-confidence and may even contribute to widening one's social circle.
- Increases resistance to diseases by bolstering the immune system.
- Reduces the incidence of illnesses such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Research suggests that regular physical activity may reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 50% and may also considerably reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Combined with healthy nutrition, regular physical activity is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to maintain a healthy weight.
- Relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and may reduce the need for medication.
- Helps control hypertension, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.
- Reduces the risk of accidental injury and shortens the recovery period from accident and illness.
- Finally, physical activity increases longevity and improves quality of life overall.