Physical activity has an important role to play in promoting mental health and well-being by preventing mental health problems and improving the quality of life of those experiencing mental health problems and illnesses.
For example, evidence shows that physical activity can reduce the risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s. It also shows that physical activity can enhance psychological well-being, by improving self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and by reducing levels of anxiety and fatigue.
The Department of Health has published a report with accompanying guidelines and fact sheets covering early years; children and young people; adults; and older adults. The DH press release says that:
These scientifically informed guidelines will help policy makers and health professionals, as well as individuals themselves to understand how to reduce the risk of ill health associated with inactivity and sedentary behaviours.
- Start active, stay active: a report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers
- Download Fact sheet 1: Early years (under 5s) (PDF, 507K)
- Download Fact sheet 2: Early years (under 5s capable of walking) (PDF, 541K)
- Download Fact sheet 3: Children and young people (5-18 years) (PDF, 555K)
- Download Fact sheet 4: Adults (19-64 years) (PDF, 568K)
- Download Fact sheet 5: Older adults (65+ years) (PDF, 462K)
- Download Making the case for UK Physical Activity Guidelines for Early Years. Recommendations and draft summary statements based on the current evidence. (PDF, 162K)
- Download Physical Activity Guidelines in the UK: Review and Recommendations (PDF, 771K)
- Download Physical Activity Guidelines in the UK: Review and Recommendations, Appendices (PDF, 777K)
- Download Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity: Review of the current scientific evidence (PDF, 964K)