LEVIN FAMILY HEALTH - Open 1st August 2023


Gary says... Health and Wellbeing can be impacted through lack of exercise - what can we do about that?

The impact of a lack of exercise in our communities in New Zealand today is a significant public health concern with far-reaching consequences. Sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly prevalent due to various factors, including urbanisation, changes in transportation, and the rise of technology. Here are some key impacts of the lack of exercise:

  1. Physical Health Consequences: Insufficient physical activity contributes to a range of health issues. These include increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders. Lack of exercise also leads to decreased muscle strength and flexibility, impaired coordination, and reduced overall physical fitness.

  2. Mental Health Challenges: Inadequate exercise levels are associated with poor mental health outcomes. Regular physical activity plays a vital role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving mood, self-esteem, and overall psychological well-being. The lack of exercise can exacerbate mental health challenges, leading to a negative impact on individuals' quality of life.

  3. Increased Healthcare Burden: The lack of exercise contributes to the burden on healthcare systems. Physical inactivity is associated with a higher incidence of chronic diseases, leading to increased healthcare costs for individuals and the healthcare system as a whole. Promoting regular exercise can help reduce healthcare expenditure and alleviate the strain on healthcare resources.

  4. Socioeconomic Disparities: Lack of exercise can perpetuate socioeconomic disparities. Limited access to recreational facilities, parks, and safe outdoor spaces for physical activity disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities. This exacerbates existing health inequities and contributes to a cycle of poor health outcomes among marginalized populations.

  5. Impact on Children and Youth: Insufficient exercise in childhood and adolescence can have long-term consequences for health and well-being. Inadequate physical activity levels in young people contribute to increased risk of obesity, poor cardiovascular health, and compromised cognitive function. Encouraging regular exercise from an early age is essential for establishing healthy habits and preventing future health issues.

Addressing the lack of exercise in our communities requires a multifaceted approach:

  1. Promoting Physical Education: Enhance physical education programs in schools to ensure children and youth receive adequate physical activity. This includes providing sufficient resources, qualified instructors, and diverse activities that cater to different abilities and interests.

  2. Creating Active Environments: Design and develop communities that facilitate and promote physical activity. This includes increasing access to recreational facilities, improving urban planning to prioritise active transportation (walking, cycling), and enhancing the availability of safe and well-maintained public spaces for exercise.

  3. Public Awareness and Education: Increase public awareness about the importance of exercise for health and well-being through targeted campaigns, education programs, and media initiatives. Promote the benefits of physical activity and provide resources for individuals to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

  4. Workplace Initiatives: Encourage employers to prioritise employee well-being and support active lifestyles through workplace wellness programs. This may include promoting active breaks, providing access to exercise facilities, and organising group activities.

  5. Community Engagement: Foster community engagement and social support for physical activity. Establish local initiatives, clubs, and events that promote active lifestyles and encourage community participation in exercise-related activities.

By addressing the lack of exercise in our communities through these strategies, we can improve overall health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and create a culture of well-being and vitality throughout New Zealand.