Rachael Harriott
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Public Health Agency – Be active – get cycling

It is well known that physical activity is good for our health and well-being. Despite this, only 55% of adults in Northern Ireland meet the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.

Of the 45% that do not meet the recommended level, 13% do some activity (60-149 minutes/week), 6% do low activity (30-59 minutes/week) and 26% are classified as inactive (less than 30 minutes/week).

The recommendation for children is to be active for at least one hour every day, however only 12% meet this guideline.

Cycling is a fantastic way to incorporate physical activity into your life, using it as a way to commute or for leisure.

Research in the British Medical Journal has shown that cycling to work can lower your risk of premature death by 41%.

Cycling is associated with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease, compared to a non-active commute.

Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight and can reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. It can also improve mental health by lifting mood, reducing anxiety and helping to protect against depression.

It’s a very accessible way to get more active, with all ages able to enjoy. It’s a fun activity to do with the family and being a low impact exercise it’s easier on your joints than some other exercises.

Ciclovia is a fantastic event filled with fun for everyone and it’s FREE. Why not come down to Belfast City Hall on 7th October between 9.30am-12pm and join in, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy cycling on traffic free environment. It is a great way to build up your confidence on the bike, meet new people and join in all the activities on the day.

Making small changes to increase our levels of physical activity can make a big difference to our health and wellbeing, and quality of life.

For advice on getting more active, visit the PHA’s website www.choosetolivebetter.com which also has tips on setting targets and more ways to move more and move more often.

Rachael Harriott

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