Physical activity and health conditions

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of some health conditions, and help you to manage others.

Physical activity:

  • helps reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer
  • puts you in a better position manage conditions like arthritis, diabetes and depression.

If you haven’t been active in the past, our page on Starting physical activity has tips to make it easier.

The following download summarises how physical activity can help with a range of different conditions:


For people with asthma, physical activity is particularly important. It improves lung capacity, blood flow and has an overall calming effect. Active people usually have less symptoms and better control over their asthma.

Read this brochure to find out more – it has lots of information for people with exercise-induced asthma too:


Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer of the bowel or breast (post-menopausal).

Regular physical activity is also important to help people with cancer during treatment and recovery. It can increase energy levels and offers a range of other benefits.

Go to the Cancer Society website for more information on:

Heart disease

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. If you have angina, have had a heart attack, or heart surgery, regular physical activity can be an important part of your life.

Download this brochure to find out more:

The Heart Foundation website has more advice on physical activity for preventing or managing heart conditions.

Mental wellbeing

Physical activity has mental health benefits, particularly for depression and anxiety, and is very good for reducing stress.

Read these brochures to find out more:

The Depression website has more information on how physical activity can help you manage depression.

The Lowdown website has advice for teens.

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