The link between physical activity levels and chronic health conditions is being investigated by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Physical activity has significant health benefits for the heart, body and mind. It can prevent chronic diseases as well as protect mental health and overall wellbeing. The World Health Organization report that people who are insufficiently active have a 20-30 per cent increased risk of death.
But according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, physical inactivity costs the NHS in the UK round £1 billion per year.
Dr Gallin Montgomery, lead researcher and Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics at Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport, and Dr Will Evans, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at The University of Sunderland, aim to follow the physical activity levels of 10,000 people in the UK using their smart phone data to identify those who are at risk of low activity and support them in becoming more active and ultimately healthier.
Dr Montgomery said: “Physical activity can help people to prevent and manage more than 20 chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type-two diabetes, obesity, as well as many musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
“It is important to identify those people who are doing little activity, as we predict that these will be the people who can benefit the most from being more active, such as those with chronic conditions. Many people with these conditions think that they can’t or shouldn’t exercise but there is always something you can do.
“So much research has tried to account for physical activity levels whilst looking at health metrics but don’t accurately measure its participants’ activity. We want to look at people’s self-reported health measures and accurately record the amount of activity they are doing to see the relationship between health and physical activity in the UK population – we want to know who is at risk and how can we make them healthier.”