‘Look after yourself by keeping fit and healthy’

Date published: 05 June 2020

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride is reminding people of the important role physical activity plays in our overall wellbeing.


Dr McBride said: “At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour but given the huge impact that this virus has had on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the local population it is more important than ever that you look after yourself.”

“Physical health has a significant impact on how we are feeling emotionally and mentally so a good starting point is taking regular exercise. The evidence suggests that regular physical activity not only helps maintain good mental and physical health, supports with weight management but it also enhances immune response.”

The Chief Medical Officer continued: “With social distancing now a normal part of daily life, it has been a welcome sight to see people outdoors in our local parks and green spaces exercising, while still following the guidelines. And we need to keep this up, if you’re out for a walk or a jog with people from outside your household, remember to look after yourself and each other by staying 2 metres apart.”

Addressing those who have been shielding, Dr McBride said: “From Monday 8 June, provided the rate of Covid-19 infection allows, those of you who have been shielding will be able to spend time outside with people from your own household or a person from another household whilst ensuring social distancing is observed.

“It’s understandable that if you have been shielding for the past number of months that you may now feel anxious or unsure about going outdoors but even a short 10 minute walk close to your home will be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.

“There are approximately 80,000 people in Northern Ireland who have been shielding on advice from their GPs.  The Department has therefore asked the Patient Client Council to engage with those people to understand the impact this had had.  This will help inform us on the steps we need to take going forward.

“And for those of you in our community who are recovering from feeling unwell with potential COVID-19, avoid strenuous activity as you recover. Start slowly and build up activity.”

The Chief Medical Officer concluded:As more elements of life return to normality, it’s important to keep physical activity levels up.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. For more information on physical activity for different age groups, covering the volume, duration, frequency and type of physical activity required across the life course to achieve health benefits, read the UK CMOs Physical Activity Guidelines.
  2. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:  pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk.
  3. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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