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Benefits of being active

Benefits for adults

We all know that leading an active lifestyle is good for us. If you participate in regular moderate physical activity, you can expect to enjoy numerous health and social benefits, including:

  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • reduced risk of developing high blood pressure
  • reduced blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
  • prevention of some cancers
  • reduced risk of becoming overweight
  • reduced risk of developing diabetes and prevention and treatment of non-insulin dependent diabetes - it has been estimated that 30 to 50 percent of new cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by appropriate physical levels of activity
  • better bone and muscle development and prevention of osteoporosis
  • improved muscle flexibility, strength and endurance
  • reduced risk of dying prematurely
  • reduced risk of falling, and improved mobility and strength for older adults
  • improved quality of sleep.

Physical activity can also help:

  • encourage social interaction
  • improve concentration and learning
  • increase personal confidence and self-awareness
  • reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • enhance self-esteem
  • improve quality of life.

Benefits for children and young people

The Australian Medical Association estimates that 20 to 25 percent of Australian children are either overweight or obese - this is an alarming health trend. The problem is that overweight children are more likely to turn into overweight adults who are often inactive and face a huge range of health problems.

Being active not only keeps children and young people fit and healthy, but provides all kinds of social, emotional and intellectual benefits.

Research shows that children doing regular physical activity can have:

  • improved emotional wellbeing - helps young children feel more confident, happy and relaxed, with improved self-esteem and self-concept
  • improved health - encourages healthy growth and development of children's bodies, and similar benefits of physically active adults
  • improved mental health - improves concentration skills and ability to manage anxiety and stress
  • enhanced social skills - develops skills such as cooperation and teamwork, and a great way to have fun, meet new people and develop friendships
  • increased capacity for learning and productivity - active children are generally more motivated and better organised than children who are inactive, and physical activity has direct links to improved learning outcomes
  • a more positive school environment - active students are generally less aggressive and experience fewer discipline problems
  • a reduction in anti-social behaviour - active children are less likely to smoke, use illicit drugs or be involved in criminal activity.

Queensland Sport, Exercise and Recreation Survey for Adults (QSERSA)

Queensland, Sport, Exercise, and Recreation Survey for Adults 2015, 2016 and 2018 provide information about the physical activity levels and preferences of Queensland adults, barriers and enablers to participation, as well as social and economic data. The surveys collect robust data at a Queensland regional level and ensure Queensland Government’s policy, program development and planning for sport and recreation participation align with the needs of Queenslanders. The 2015, 2016 and 2018 surveys had very similar sample sizes of  approximately 7200 adult respondents across the state.

The 2018 survey was conducted between 29 June and 15 August 2018.

Key findings from the 2018 survey

75% of Queenslanders could be described as participants in physical activities for sports, exercise or recreation during the last 12 months. The remaining 25% identify as non-participants.

63% are high frequency participants (participation is once a week or more often), a further 11% are medium frequency participants (participation is at least once a fortnight to at least once every 6 months), while just 1% are low frequency participants (participation at least once a year).

These participation rates have remained stable since 2015 (no statistically significant changes since the original benchmark survey), with each group varying no more than 2 percentage points over the three years of this study.

Queensland Sport, Exercise and Recreation Survey for Children (QSERSC)

The Queensland Government is in the process of developing the Queensland sport, exercise and recreation survey for children (QSERSC) to provide representative, robust and reliable data to measure Queensland children’s involvement in sports, exercise and recreational activities outside of school hours (children aged 5 to 17 years). It is anticipated that findings of QSERSC will be released in 2019.

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