We’ve just experienced an incredible year of sport for Scottish athletes with our Olympians, Paralympians, golfers, swimmers and others achieving great things on the world stage.
Globally, physical activity is on the decline with children and adults more physically inactive than ever before because of our sedentary lifestyles. In 2008 about 31per cent of adults worldwide were insufficiently active, and that number is rising rapidly.
Worldwide, 5.3 million deaths each year could be avoided by making sport or physical activity a part of daily life, which is why the NHS now regards physical activity as a critical strand of preventative medicine.
One of the main benefits of introducing or increasing physical activity is weight loss.
For the average 155lb person, walking at 3.5mph for 30 minutes will burn 149 calories and swimming breaststroke for half an hour raises the rate to 372 calories.
Formal sport isn’t the only option though. Only 30 minutes of snooker can burn 193 calories, while going outdoors for half an hour of playing frisbee will burn an average of 112 calories.
In Scotland we have some of the most incredible countryside with an abundance of sports and activities on offer, many of them free. Exercising outside is proven to significantly improve mood and self-esteem and that feel-good factor can last for up to 12 hours after exercising.
Through the Active Schools Network, sportscotland works with PE teachers and sports development professionals in all 32 local authority areas to increase the opportunities for young people to take part in some form of physical activity.
Active young people will achieve 40 per cent higher grades in exams, are 15 per cent more likely to go to college and as a result will earn seven to eight per cent more than their physically inactive counterparts.
That’s the power of sport.
As the national agency for sport, we are committed to developing and supporting a world-class sporting system at all levels to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make physical activity a part of their daily lives.
It only takes 30 minutes to make a difference, let 2013be the year you make it happen.