Sport England: Physical activity benefits outweigh risks for people with long-term health conditions

5 Nov 2021

Author: Sport England

A new consensus statement from health experts has determined that physical activity is safe – even for people living with symptoms of multiple conditions. The benefits of taking part in physical activity “outweigh the risks” for people with long-term health conditions. 

One in four people in England live with a long-term health condition, and those in this group are twice as likely to be inactive, despite evidence that being active can help manage many conditions and reduce the impact and severity of some symptoms. 

However, there are many barriers to getting active for those living with a long-term health condition – including fears that physical activity may worsen their symptoms, and requirements to gain medical clearance prior to increasing activity levels.  

The new consensus statement aims to break down these barriers by clarifying fundamental safety considerations and bridging the gap between evidence, clinical and public health guidelines and people’s lived experience. 

"This new consensus statement is a really positive step – it will play a vital role in supporting healthcare professionals to empower their patients to get active in a way that is right for them."

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive, Sport England

The findings will offer guidance for healthcare professionals that physical activity can be used to manage the majority of long-term health conditions and lead to more people with long-term health conditions being encouraged to take part in sport and physical activity.  

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