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About physical activity

Active St Helens is a public health campaign to encourage people who live, work and study in St Helens to be more active. Active St Helens promotes walking, running, cycling and swimming; these are activities that you can do no matter your age or ability. Give it a go and #beyourownhero 

Why do we need to be physically active?

There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help people of all ages be both healthier and happier. A list of the benefits of being physically active are below:

  • Helps maintain weight
  • Strengthens heart, lungs, arteries and other muscles reducing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers
  • Strengthens bones and muscles reducing the risk of falling and osteoporosis
  • Helps to manage pain
  • Helps to prevent mental health illness
  • Improves concentration
  • Boosts energy
  • Boosts mood
  • Reduces low level anxiety and depression
  • Helps sleep
  • Can be social
  • Can be fun!

How much physical activity are we meant to do?

In St Helens, over a quarter of adults are inactive, doing 30 minutes of activity in a week, and just over half are reaching the national recommendations of 150 minutes a week.

For children, 70% are not active enough, only doing 30 minutes per day rather than the 60 minutes recommended.

The government recommends different levels of activity dependent on age:

What type of activities should I do?

A mixture of activities can help strengthen different muscles. Using weights or doing weight bearing exercise (using your body weight) increases both muscle and bone strength. As we get older, we need to look after our bones and being physically active can help.

After exercising for the first time in a while, you might feel sore afterwards, this is normal and should not stop you from carrying on.

How should I start?

Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Don’t let time be a barrier, fit it into your daily life. This could be at home, work, in the park, travelling to the shops, in the garden. Think of ways that you can add in 10 minutes of activity a few times a day or try alternative ways to get about, can you walk or cycle instead? 

Hints and tips to start being active

  • Drink water – important to stay hydrated
  • Eating a healthy varied diet will give you energy to exercise - visit the NHS website for more information
  • Set yourself a clear goal which is achievable
  • If you don't feel confident to exercise in public, use your own home; you could use the stairs or use tins as weights