Why is physical activity important?

Currently, more than a quarter of higher education students do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity. Click here to find out how physical activity can have a positive impact on your physical, mental and social wellbeing!

Physical activity plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of the general population. Regular physical activity has many benefits, having positive effects on stress management and sleep quality and helping to maintain a healthy weight – all important aspects in improving quality of life. Regular physical activity is also associated with decreased mortality and morbidity from many diseases. Alongside this, adults who are physically active report having more positive mental and physical health. The scientific evidence on the relationships between physical activity and health continues to accumulate as more research is undertaken on the subject. 

Currently, more than a quarter of higher education students do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity. There are many opportunities for physical activity at university, from getting involved in university sports clubs to joining the QMotion Gym or getting involved with Get Active events on campus. For good physical and mental health, you should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still. Where possible, you should aim to carry out resistance training (training with weights) twice a week. The recommended amount of cardiovascular exercise varies depending on the intensity: 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. 

Alongside this, you should aim to minimise long periods of time being sedentary. Where possible you should break up long periods of inactivity with some form of exercise such as a gym session, a short walk or even just some push-ups or star jumps. 

There is compelling evidence of the valuable role regular physical activity can play in supporting students. "If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.” - UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines 

  1. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines 2019 

  1. British Active Students Survey: Higher Education 2019/2020 Report 


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