World Day of Physical Activity on 6 April is a day to encourage us to embrace physical activity and harness the benefits of being active!
This year’s theme “Have a good time! Be active!” is a powerful reminder that physical activity is not only enjoyable but transformative. Movement can give us more than the long-lasting health benefits; it can lift our mood and bring joy into our lives!
What is physical activity?
If thinking of physical activity conjures up school memories of running around a field, it’s time to change your thinking.
“Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.” – World Health Organization
The connection between physical activity and happiness is well-established, with studies revealing that engaging in enjoyable activities releases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals not only uplift your spirits but also reduce stress and improve cognitive function. By choosing activities that spark joy, you’re far more likely to stay consistent and reap the full range of health benefits.
How to unleash the power of movement
Embrace Play: Reconnect with your inner child by engaging in unstructured play. From frisbee to tag, rediscover the activities that once made you laugh and feel alive. These spontaneous forms of movement rekindle a sense of freedom and light-heartedness that many planned and organised workouts can’t.
Find Your Flow: Choose activities that promote a sense of flow, where you become so immersed in the activity that you lose track of time. Dancing, hiking, yoga or tai-chi are examples of movement forms that can lead to this meditative state, leading to greater creativity and mental well-being.
Connect with Nature: Studies have shown that exercising in natural environments enhances mood and provides a wealth of sensory stimulation, promoting a deeper connection with the world around us. Incorporate outdoor activities like trail running, paddleboarding, or even gardening to elevate your movement experience.
Cultivate Social Connections: Participate in group activities to foster camaraderie and social support. Team sports, group aerobic classes, or dance lessons provide opportunities to bond with others, share laughter, and create lasting memories.
Personalise Your Movement: Like everything in life, being active does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Find your perfect fit by experimenting with different activities until you find the ones that resonates with you. Don’t ever stop exploring! As with most things, our preferences can change over time, so look out for new ideas and always be open to exploring new types of exercise and movement. Whatever you choose to do, setting aside between 75 and 300 minutes a week can make a world of difference!
World Day of Physical Activity is the perfect opportunity to discover what movement sparks your passion and makes you smile – break free from the confines of traditional exercise. By embracing the “Have a Good Time! Be active!” mantra, you can transform your opinions of physical activity and unlock a more joyful, fulfilling path to well-being. So go ahead, lace up your shoes, and embrace movement!
Help to build a healthier nation by spreading the word. Use hashtags #WDPA 2023; #HaveAGoodTime; #BeActive to share your journey, start a discussion and inspire others!