Sometimes it is worth just taking a look and reminding ourselves why we do something… and fitness is no different.
With so many things in life, we get into a routine. We get up, we have breakfast, we take the kids to school, we go to work, we go to college, we go for a run at lunchtime, we go to the gym in the evening, we go to the pub on Fridays … life can become one long routine and we often lose sight of why we are living life as we do.
So here are some of the reasons why ensuring there is regular exercise in your life is so important.
- It can reduce your risk of many major illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent and lower your risk of an early death by up to 30 per cent.
- Physical activity can also reduce incidents of osteoarthritis, lower the risk of fractures in older people and lower the risk of falling (among the elderly).
- There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead healthier and happier lives. Exercise is thought to boost self esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. Research also suggests that exercise can reduce risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If exercise were a drug it would be one of the most cost-effective medicines on the market.
So how much fitness work should you be doing?
In order to stay healthy, adults should be active every day and aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every week. This can be spread out – 5 x 30 minutes – or done in a couple of ‘hits’. However, just because you have banged out 150 minutes in the gym doesn’t mean you should be sedentary for the remainder of the week – walking, cycling and generally getting out and about will all help you stay fit and healthy. Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down.
This is really up to you but most experts in the field would agree that a variety of activity is best. By mixing cardiovascular activities with strength and flexibility work, you will be ensuring that you exercise a wide range of muscle groups and give your body a thorough work out. Conversely, by doing the same fitness regime over and again, you risk repetitive injuries in the muscles that talk all the strain and you also risk losing motivation through boredom.
A great combination would be an activity schedule that included cardio work – running, cycling, rowing, swimming; circuits or strength and conditioning sessions; a stretching and flexibility session such as yoga, pilates or enhanced stretching; and a game-based activity such as squash, badminton, football, volleyball etc.
By mixing it up, you stay fresh and motivated and your body gets to move in a number of ways – all great for promoting a healthy body and a healthy mind… and that is why you exercise in the first place!