Physical activity greatly impacts our personal health and the health of our communities. Saskatchewan residents currently have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the country. By age 12, 85% of Saskatchewan youth have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer, as well as several other forms of cancer have a lower occurrence rate if an individual is active.Physical activity also aids in stress management, and the prevention of stress related illnesses.Increased physical activity will reduce the health risks listed above and greatly improve the overall physical health of our province’s population.
Physical activity has many significant benefits that impact an individual’s social health.Physical activity is a great way for anyone to achieve a sense of belonging and increased levels of self esteem.Spending time outside the home, in your yard, at a workout facility or in a group setting can strengthen a person’s connection to their community and its’ members.Being physically active with others is a great way to build relationships with families, friends and coworkers.Participating in physical activity in a group or community environment can help new Canadians integrate into their community. Being active is a fun way to learn a new language and meet new people.
Choosing physical activity has many environmental benefits. Active forms of transportation, like walking, cycling or skate boarding reduces the number of vehicles on the road. Less cars make streets a safer place for those who choose active transportation. And of course, fewer vehicles on the road reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Creating and protecting outdoor physical activity facilities ensures our communities include parks, trails and green spaces.
Increasing physical activity will have significant positive impacts on the provincial economy. The cost of physical inactivity in Canada is estimated at $5 billion annually. In only 10 years, health care spending in Saskatchewan has increased from close to $1 billion to over $3 billion.
The benefits of regular physical activity are widespread, but the costs of physical inactivity has reached epidemic proportions.In fact, due to poor lifestyle habits, including physical inactivity, for the first time in history our children are expected to have a shorter and less healthy life than our own.