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Chris Whitty: physical activity must play key role in nation’s recovery

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Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, has said exercise and physical activity should play a key role in the UK's recovery from the pandemic – as well as the way the nation shapes its future health care plans.

Speaking at ukactive’s recent National Summit, Whitty outlined the lead role operators of gyms, leisure centres and sports facilities will be called on to play in supporting the nation as it emerges from COVID-19.

“As we come out of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s very important we try to get people who’ve got out of the habit of regular exercise back into a situation where they’re doing so, and encourage others who’ve taken up exercise in a way they previously hadn’t done,” Whitty said.

"There is no point in life where doing more exercise does not improve health in multiple ways.

“Exercise is essential to a happy and healthy old age and it's also extremely important to provide opportunities for those with mental or physical disabilities to be physically active”.

During his keynote session, Whitty also acknowledged figures from Sport England’s recent research – undertaken by Savanta ComRes – which showed a significant drop in the levels of physical activity in England.

“COVID has made it a lot harder for many people to exercise," Whitty said, adding that the sport and fitness sectors have a crucial role in correcting this downward momentum.

Whitty was speaking during a National Summit session which focused on why governments should strive for a more preventative and joined-up approach to health – and how the physical activity sector can partner with other sectors to support the creation of healthier, more resilient communities.

• To view a recording of the Chris Whitty session – and all other sessions of the ukactive National Summit – click here.

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Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, has said exercise and physical activity should play a key role in the UK's recovery from the pandemic – as well as the way the nation shapes its future health care plans.
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