Although research interest on physical activity and health dates back to the 1950s, the breakthrough in the scientific evidence on health benefits of physical activity largely took place during the 1980s and 1990s. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence on the positive effects of sport and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. The positive, direct effects of engaging in regular physical activity are particularly apparent in the prevention of several chronic diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis.
Physical activity and psychosocial health
Sport and Physical Activity as part of a Healthy Lifestyle
A number of factors influence the way in which sport and physical activity impacts on health in different populations. Sport and physical activity in itself may not directly lead to benefits but, in combination with other factors, can promote healthy lifestyles. There is evidence to suggest that changes in the environment can have a significant impact on opportunities for participation and in addition, the conditions under which the activity is taking place can heavily impact on health outcomes. Elements that may be determinants on health include nutrition, intensity and type of physical activity, appropriate footwear and clothing, climate, injury, stress levels and sleep patterns.
Sport and physical activity can make a substantial contribution to the well-being of people in developing countries. Exercise, physical activity and sport have long been used in the treatment and rehabilitation of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Physical activity for individuals is a strong means for the prevention of diseases and for nations is a cost-effective method to improve public health across populations.