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Staying Physically Active

What is physical activity? 

Physical activity is any bodily movement which requires energy and is produced by the skeletal muscles. This could be anything from walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller or climbing the stairs, to playing football or even dancing the night away.Most of us include a range of physical activities into our daily lives, often without thinking about it. 

Why is it important? 

Physical activity has many benefits for both our physical and mental health. Keeping yourself physically active can reduce your risk of several major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, as well as lowering your risk of premature death. Physical activity is also important to strengthen your bones and muscles, which can slow the loss of bone density and help to maintain your muscle mass and strength as you get older. 

Physical activity can also help to improve your mental health and mood through the release of chemicals, making you feel more relaxed, improve self-esteem, help you deal with low mood, stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Physical activity has also been proven to help keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp as you age as the proteins and chemicals released through stimulation of the body help to improve the structure and function of your brain. 

How much physical activity should I be doing? 

The current Chief Medical Officers’ UK physical activity guidelines state that adults, aged 19-64, should be active daily and should do either: 

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, such as cycling or brisk walking, and  
  • strength exercises on two or more days of the week that work all major muscle groups (shoulders, back, arms, chest, abdomen, hips, legs) 

OR 

  •  75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running, swimming or playing football, and  
  • strength exercises on two or more days of the week that work all major muscle groups (shoulders, back, arms, chest, abdomen, hips, legs) 

Adults should also minimise the amount of time being sedentary, such as sitting, for extended periods. The guidelines now highlight the additional benefits of incorporating physical activity to improve balance and flexibility for older adults. Exercises that improve balance, coordination and leg strength will help to maintain and improve muscle strength and reduce the risk of falls as we age. Improving flexibility can reduce aches and pains, improve posture and help to continue carrying out day-to-day tasks. 

How can the Authority help me achieve this? 

If you’re not sure where to start, see the information below on how Carmarthenshire County Council can help support you to become more physically active. 

Make use of our great leisure facilities 

Why not try out your local Actif Sir Gar Leisure Centre to help fulfil some of your recommended physical activity? With 7 leisure centres to choose from in Carmarthenshire and a wide range of activities available, there’s bound to be something for everyone! Our facilities include fully equipped gyms, fitness classes, swimming pools, aqua classes and hire of badminton and squash courts. As a member of staff, you will also have the benefit of a corporate discount on your Actif membership. 

Join in with Health and Wellbeing Groups in the Authority 

Our Health and Wellbeing Champions have set up several groups, including walking and running groups for staff. For more information on where these are and when they take place, see our Health and Wellbeing Champions and Events and Activities pages. 

Make the most of Carmarthenshire   

We are lucky to live in a county that is full of beautiful countryside and coastlines. Why not get outside for a run, walk or cycle and make the most of what the county has to offer? Here’s just some of the great places to visit in Carmarthenshire:  

  1. National Botanical Gardens of Wales 
  2. Pembrey Country Park 
  3. Millennium Coastal Path 
  4. Carreg Cennen Castle 
  5. Dylan Thomas Boathouse 
  6. Llansteffan Castle 
  7. Kidwelly Castle 
  8. Llyn y Fan Fach 
  9. Llyn Llech Owain Country Park 

Discover Carmarthenshire also has some great guides on the best places to walk and explore so why not take a look! 

Page updated: 08/12/2020 12:40:52