Exercise is the natural miracle cure we have always had, but for many of us we rarely take our recommended dose despite the multiple health benefits it offers – both mentally and physically. No matter what age you are, there's solid scientific evidence that being physically active can help us lead a healthier, happier, and even longer life.
People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, as well as boosting self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and our energy levels. Exercise can also help reduce your risk of / help improve effects of stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to the UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines, on GOV.UK, we need to try to be active every day and aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week (we can round this to 21 mins a day on average), through a variety of activities.
This does not mean we all have to rush out to join gyms or sign up to run a marathon! For the activity to benefit our health, we need to be moving quick enough to raise our heart rate, make us breathe faster and feel warmer = moderate intensity activity. At this level, we should still be able to talk. Depending on our level of fitness some of us will reach this level of activity with a simple walk around the block or by cleaning the house.
The most common excuse for not exercising is ‘I don’t have the time’! Therefore, the best way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life e.g., walking to the local shops instead of using the car, take the stairs instead of the lift, go for a walk around the block in your lunch hour, incorporate exercise into your evening / weekend routine.
The important thing to remember is that every little helps; exercise when and how you can. Getting into a routine and finding things that are fun will really help you keep movin’ movin’.