Physical Activity

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, climbing the stairs, playing sports, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being active. The benefits of physical activity across the life course are paramount and include; lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, some types of cancers and diabetes; improvements in musculoskeletal health and body weight control; as well as positive effects on mental health development and cognitive processes. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous intensity. Physical activity is important for all age groups, and has particular relevance for children, the working population and the elderly.

The benefits of increasing physical activity

  • Better mobility; joints, tendons and ligaments will be more flexible
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolism (the rate we burn calories)
  • Improved general mental wellbeing and potential to improve feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Increased energy and endurance levels.

Additional benefits

Physical activity can also make people happier and more satisfied with life. For example, some active people report to:

  • have an improved body image
  • have higher self-esteem
  • feel less anxious
  • sleep better

 It doesn’t have to be difficult to fit exercise into your daily life - here are some ideas to get you started:

  • walk to the shop, walk your children to school or go for a walk during your lunch hour
  • make it sociable – exercise as a family or with a friend, or join a club and meet some new friends
  • housework even counts towards your exercise from vacuuming to washing the car
  • make the most of the outdoors; walking, jogging, running or gardening - take your pick they’re all free
  • get on your bike, there are hundreds of cycle paths right across Wales, find one here
  • get some music on and dance! From dancing in your living room, ballroom in a local hall or joining a street dancing club. Find a class near you
  • are you a competitive person?  Why not challenge a friend to a game of squash or golf. Or if you are more of a team player why not join a local football or basketball team?

Keep a record of your exercise here:

Download Physical Activity Diary


National Exercise Referral Scheme

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is a Welsh Government funded scheme that is delivered by Public Health Wales. It has been developed to standardise exercise referral opportunities across all local authorities and local health boards in Wales. The scheme successfully targets patients who have a chronic condition or are at risk of developing chronic disease.  There were 28,824 referrals across Wales in 2016 which are delivered through local leisure facilities.

If you are inactive and think the scheme would be beneficial to you contact your GP to discuss further.