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Source: Sports New Zealand

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New research confirms physical activity is tied to healthy mental wellbeing

9 October 2018

New research from Sport NZ shows that Kiwis that are physically active are more likely to have good mental health. Those who meet the global physical activity recommendations of at least 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity a week are 51% more likely to have healthy mental wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week 8–14 October 2018

Active NZ research key findings: 

  • People who do at least 2.5 hours of recreational physical activity each week have 51% higher odds of reporting good mental wellbeing, however, participation in at least 4.5 hours per week increases the odds to 65%.
  • The odds of having better mental wellbeing increased for each additional day of recreational physical activity from two to three days (24%), four days (18%) and five days (13%) per week.
  • People meeting the physical activity recommendations by participating in vigorous-intensity recreational activity have 57 % higher odds of having good mental wellbeing compared to 23% for those participating at a moderate-intensity level.
  • People meeting physical activity recommendations through regular gardening having 25% higher odds of reporting good mental wellbeing. 

Ministry of Health activity guidelines for adults 

Physical activity intensity definitions: 

  • Light-intensity – activity that does not cause a noticeable increase in heart-rate and breathing (e.g. slow walking)
  • Moderate-intensity – activity that causes a noticeable increase in heart-rate and breathing, but does not stop you having a conversation (e.g. brisk walking)
  • Vigorous-intensity – activity that causes an increase in heart-rate and breathing to a point where you can’t maintain a conversation (e.g. running) 

Active NZ – Recreational Physical Activity and Mental Wellbeing

Mental Health Inquiry – New Zealand 2018

The Active NZ 2017 Report 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is run annually by the Mental Health Foundation and has been since 1993. MHAW is endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and is marked in over 150 countries at different times of the year.

In New Zealand, MHAW is held on 8–14 October 2018 and the theme is Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga!

Contact for interviews

Lucy Orbell, 021 194 9503

MIL OSI