Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make the biggest difference to your health and lifestyle. Things like eating right and getting plenty of sleep. Probably the biggest contributor to your overall sense of well-being, however, is your ability to keep active.
We’ve all heard stories about how physical activity is supposed to be so good for you. What puts us off is the thought of having to lift weights, swim the Channel, or take up some other form of exercise that’s as taxing as it is terrifying. And in the end, is it really worth it?
Yes, it is. Here are just a few of the benefits that regular ‘moderate’ exercise can bring:
• Improved overall health
• Improved fitness levels
• Improved posture and balance
• A higher self-esteem
• Natural weight control
• Improved sleep
Regular activity strengthens muscles and bones, whatever your age, and is one of the simplest methods there is to lift your spirits. It also keeps your joints flexible and promotes greater mobility. Activity has been proven to reduce the risk of many serious diseases including diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
Moderate exercise in any form releases endorphins into the bloodstream. These are the body’s built-in painkillers that help to:
• Promote relaxation
• Fight off stress
• Alleviate anxiety
• Ward off depression
They also work toward improving a person’s mental health and general state of well-being.
Finally, active people have more energy than inactive people. Regular exercise increases your body’s stamina, giving your energy reserves a boost. Plus, the more active you are throughout your life, the easier it will be for you to enjoy an independent lifestyle in later years.
In his report ‘At least five a week’ Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health, points out that adults who are physically active on a regular basis – i.e. for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week – live longer and are less likely to develop major chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
So what’s the secret to having more get-up-and-go and the capacity to enjoy it? It’s simple: just get up and go!
• Stay healthy and motivated to keep active by doing things you enjoy
• Take steps to walk whenever you can
• Avoid sitting in front of a TV or computer screen for hours on end
• Do simple stretching exercises every day whenever possible
• Choose activities your friends can participate in
• Enjoy activities as a family
• Congratulate yourself on improving your quality of life
Brisk walking twice a day in 15-minute spurts keeps your body and mind in tip-top condition. It helps burn calories and reduces fat from your whole body. A brisk 30-minute walk a few times a week has been shown to reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s by nearly 50%. Exercise also slows or reverses brain decay, so just walking could literally keep you “on your toes” well into old age.
There are many ways to keep active that don’t involve going to the gym or entering the Tour de France. A few hours working in the garden, playing with children, or even scrubbing the floor count towards your weekly activity levels and will help to keep you fit and healthy in the easiest, least intrusive way possible.
From everyone here at West London Physio, thanks again for your continuing support. Enjoy the long summer days ahead and the opportunity to take part effortlessly and painlessly in your favourite activity.