In partnership with COSLA and sportscotland, we have produced a paper which outlines the benefits of physical activity to our health and wellbeing. The paper ‘The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport’ explains how local government is key to enabling individuals and communities to be more physically active by weaving physical activity across multiple outcomes and priorities.

Policy priorities for councils have been identified and outlined in: Education and Children’s services; Strong Safe and Sustainable Communities; Health and Social Care; and Local Economies, Inclusive Growth and the Environment. They are supported by evidence-based actions that each of the local authorities can take forward. Actions include adopting a whole school approach to physical activity, policies to support sport and recreation for all and integration of physical activity into health and social care.

The latest Scottish Health Survey shows that only 69% of children (2yrs to 15yrs) and 66% of adults (16yrs to 75yrs plus) met the CMO Physical Activity Guideline for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Additionally, only 29% of adults met the MPVA and muscle strengthening physical activity guideline combined. This reduced to only 8% for those over 75 years of age.

Flora Jackson, Health Improvement Manager for Physical Activity at Public Health Scotland, said:

“Evidence shows that regular physical activity provides a range of physical, mental, social, environmental and economic benefits. It reduces the risk of many long-term conditions and helps to manage existing conditions by maintaining musculoskeletal health and physical and mental function. This enables people to retain independence in later life, supports social inclusion, helps them to maintain a healthy weight and reduces inequalities, particularly for people with long-term conditions.

As well as the multiple health benefits of physical activity, societies that are more active can generate additional returns on investment including a reduced use of fossil fuels, cleaner air and less congested, safer roads”.

Read The Positive Contribution of Physical Activity and Sport to Scotland in full (external website).

Last updated: 06 October 2022