Unmasking the political power of physical activity research: Harnessing the ‘apolitical-ness’ as a catalyst for addressing the challenges of our time

Physical activity has a range of direct health and well-being benefits at the individual level.1 When it comes to the community level, the extent of physical activity’s impact on complex social and environmental issues remains relatively unexplored and poorly understood. However, emerging evidence suggests that physical activity may buffer the devastating impact of climate change on health,2,3 reduce crime rates with improved mental health and well-being,4,5 help alleviate poverty by enhancing self-confidence and leadership skills, thereby increasing employability,6,7 and bridge divides by promoting a sense of unity.8 For instance, recent reviews2,3 have shown that physical activity could lessen the negative impact of climate change on health by helping people recover from disasters, heat waves, trauma, and related challenges, thus lessening the negative impact of climate change on their well-being. Furthermore, cross-sectional evidence4,5 shows that communities with higher levels of physical activity tend to experience lower rates of neighborhood crime.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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