Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Prepared by : Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by network : Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN), April 2019
Last updated : 23 August 2019
Content disclaimer : See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer
Junior Sport Framework


The benefits of regular physical activity (PA) are numerous and supported by a broad body of research and evidence. These benefits are contingent on the types of PA related activities undertaken, frequency and settings.

Sport in its many forms can serve as an excellent platform for families, communities and governments to encourage more people to get more active more often, and to increase their levels of physical activity—whether that be for an individual or a nation.

Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for premature mortality and reduced quality of life—both physical and mental. High levels of sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity at a population level can place a significant burden on a nation’s health budget and its economy.

Benefits of physical activity

    PA reduces the risk of developing:

    A range of non-communicable diseases and illness including coronary artery disease; Type 2 diabetes; depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses; dementia/cognitive decline in older adults; and some cancers. PA can also improve your resilience to some communicable diseases.

    Individual and social benefits:

    Improved physical fitness—flexibility, body composition, cardio-respiratory health, strength endurance and movement skills. Enhanced cognitive development—mental concentration and sleep/wake cycles. Enhanced psychological and social development—interpersonal skills, personal resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

    Why sport?

    While all PA provides significant benefits for health and wellbeing, sportparticularly team-based sportcan provide stronger outcomes including: improved resilience; improved mental health outcomes across the life course; positive role models; social connectedness; higher likelihood of meeting PA guidelines and continuing PA long term.

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