Monday, 20 September 2021

Let us count the benefits of being physically active

WE are always told to exercise more — but do you know the real health benefits of exercise?

Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain and osteoporosis. It can also improve your mood and help you to better manage stress as serotonin levels are raised (which is really helpful if you suffer with depression).

For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week.

However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week (150 minutes a week being the guideline set by the American College of Sports and Medicine — known in some quarters as the Trainers’ Bible!).

If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.

Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

Regular physical activity can also reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces body fat, which is also associated with high blood pressure.

Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain. And when it comes to osteoporosis, regular weight-bearing exercise also promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with ageing.

The benefits aren’t just physical, they are pyschological. Regular activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself.

Research has found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety as well as help you to better manage stress.

If you would like to chat about your wellbeing, feel free to email me at and I will do my very best to help. Have a great June!

Emma-Jane Taylor

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