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Physical activity for health and wellbeing in the caring role
Physical activity for health and wellbeing in the caring role

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Session 2: Using physical activity to support the caring role

Introduction

In this session you will investigate why physical activity can offer benefits to the health and wellbeing of carers and how, given the demands of the caring role, a carer may find opportunities to be active within their daily routine. As with Session 1, you will reflect on a case study to support your understanding of the content.

Before you examine why physical activity is important, however, you should first understand what it is. The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2020) posits that physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. To break this down further, Biddle et al. (2021, p.20) cite the seminal work of Caspersen et al. (1985) who define physical activity in terms of three elements:

  • movement of the body produced by the skeletal muscles
  • resulting energy expenditure, which varies from low to high
  • a positive correlation with physical fitness.

It is important to note that physical activity and exercise are not quite the same thing. Unlike occupational and household physical activity, exercise is a form of leisure physical activity that is undertaken to achieve a particular objective, such as improved fitness and improved appearance (Lox et al., 2014). The two constructs often overlap and in the resources that you examine in the session, you will see both referred to.

Having considered the key terms, you will examine the importance of being physically active.