Physical health

Your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your physical health. A poor diet, low levels of physical activity, poor sexual health, obesity, and alcohol and drug misuse can contribute to, or even cause, many physical conditions.

Find out more about how small changes to your lifestyle can greatly benefit your health.

Physical Activity - Be active

There are many health benefits which come from engaging in physical activity. These include;

  • Reduced risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer
  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight
  • Helps to reduce high blood pressure
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Improves mental wellbeing

You can read the current physical activity guidelines on the NHS Choices website.

The University also offers activities and guidance that can help you staying physically fit. There are many sports programmes, as well as different sports teams and societies. Further information is available at and

Sexual Health

If you need advice on Sexual Health, you can contact The Hathersage Centre which is close to the Main University Campus. Find out more about contraception services the following links

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diseases passed from one person to another through sex (including oral and anal sex) or sometimes through genital contact. Condoms are the only form of contraception which protect against STIs as well as pregnancy. You can be tested for STIs at your GP surgery, a sexual health clinic or a GUM clinic. Use the NHS Choices directory to search for a sexual health service near you. It is important to get tested if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when you urinate
  • Itching, burning, swelling, blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genitals or anus
  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower abdominal pain (in women)
  • Bleeding after sex or in-between periods (in women)

Not all people with an STI experience symptoms, so it is worth getting checked if you think there's any chance you may have contracted an STI. Many can be cured by antibiotics, but can have serious consequences (such as infertility, reactive arthritis, chronic pain, inflammation and stroke) if left untreated.

Read more about the different kinds of sexually transmitted infections, including symptoms, causes and treatments.

Alcohol and Drugs

The UK has one of the highest binge drinking rates in Europe, with more than 9 million people in England drinking more than the recommended limit. It is estimated that each year in the UK alcohol is responsible for around 33,000 deaths, and between 1,300-1,600 deaths are due to illegal drug use.

If you are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, there are a number of services which can help you.

  • Speak to your GP - they may be able to treat you, or they can refer you to a local alcohol/drug specialist service.
  • You may benefit from speaking to other people who have similar experiences to you. You can find support groups with organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous.
  • For information about relevant local services you can search for addiction support services on the NHS services directory

Other useful links include:


Smoking is extremely damaging to your health. Around half of all smokers who do not quit end up dying prematurely from smoking-related illnesses. However, people who stop smoking start benefiting from improved health straight away, and after one year their risk of a heart attack falls to half that of a smoker.

Around 70% of smokers want to quit. If you are one of them, here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Talk to your GP - they can prescribe stop smoking therapy or medication, and refer you to local services, advisors and support groups
  • Register with Smokefree to receive free quitting support, including a free Quit Kit, smartphone app and text message support
  • Get support from friends and family. Tell people that you are quitting, and tell them when you're struggling so that they can help you
  • Tackle one day at a time - tell yourself "I am not going to have a cigarette today" which will seem far more manageable than "ever"
  • Remember that most people do experience withdrawal symptoms, and many people need to try quitting more than once before they are successful. If you slip up, learn from what you found difficult and use that to help you next time

Read more about treatments and support to help you stop smoking, and find stop-smoking services in your area.


Good sleep is important for health and wellbeing. Sleep has been shown to protect the immune system. Sleep affects our ability to use language, sustain attention, understand what we are reading, and summarise what we are hearing; if we compromise on our sleep, we compromise on our performance, our mood, and our interpersonal relationships.

The amount that each person needs is different; however, it is recommended that a healthy adult should sleep, on average, between seven and nine hours a night. Information on how to achieve good sleep can be found at;