Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health.
Physical activity is beneficial for the heart, the body and the mind. Physical activity can be defined as any bodily movement that uses muscle action e.g. climbing the stairs, mowing the lawn or hoovering, whereas exercise is physical activity which is structured and targeted at improving physical fitness e.g. brisk walking, cycling or swimming.
The benefits of exercise
- Strengthens the heart making it more efficient
- Reduces angina
- Lowers risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Reduces risk of irregular heart beat
- Increases cardiovascular fitnesss
- Reduces the rate of narrowing of the arteries
- Helps to control body weight and shape
- Reduces body fat
- Prevention of osteoporosis
- Improved flexibility
- Increased muscle strength
- Increased control of blood sugar levels
- Reduces symptoms of arthritis
- Lower risk of colon and breast cancer
- Improves balance and coordination
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Assists relaxation and sleep
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improved mental health
- Social interaction
In order to bring about health benefits you need to exercise aerobically at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes at least 5 times per week.
- Moderate intensity means your breathing and heart rate are increased, you feel warm or are sweating slightly, but you are still able to carry on a conversation.
- Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that requires the heart and lungs to work harder to meet the body's increased oxygen demand. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, swimming, jogging and cycling.
- If you 'don't have time' you can aim for shorter but more frequent bouts of exercise. These should be of at least 10 minutes at a time and should total 30 minutes per day.
Tips for safe successful exercising:
- Exercise within your own limits – don’t compete with others
- Start gradually and build up slowly to the recommended levels of activity.
- Try to incorporate some exercise into your daily routine e.g. get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the remainder of the journey
- Avoid heavy meals for 1 - 2 hours before starting exercise
- Warm up to prepare your body before exercising
- Cool down - slow the pace of your activity for a few minutes and include some gentle stretching at the end of your session
- Keep hydrated
- Wear suitable clothing and footwear
- If you have any concerns or have not exercised for some time you should consult your GP or health professional prior to commencing exercise
Keeping it up:
- Keep a diary of your activity levels
- Pre-organise exercise gear
- Use a pedometer
- Exercise with a friend
- Join/lead a local walking group
- Join a local gym
- Attend group exercise class
How to increase physical activity each day:
- Meet a friend for a walk instead of a coffee
- Walk at lunch-time
- Walk to colleagues at work instead of emailing or phoning them
- Start a hobby that involves activity - dancing, hill-walking
- Play active games with your children / grandchildren - tag, ballgames, hide and seek
- Leave the car at home - cycle or walk instead
- Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- Park further away from where you intend to go and walk the last part
To Find Out More About Our Physical Activity and Weight Management Classes Contact us on:
Tel - 091-544310