Regular exercise is a very important aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle. Those who ae physically active are scientifically proven to be healthier and live longer. Exercise is not just excellent for physical health, it is very important for mental health and wellbeing also.
The current guidelines for exercise in the UK at the present time for adults are:
‘At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day on 5 days per week’ or ‘Walk at least 10,000 steps per day’.
The guidelines for children are:
‘At least 60 minutes of moderate exercise on every day of the week’
The guidelines for walking differ between boys and girls, the guidelines are:
‘Girls – To walk 12,000 steps per day’
‘Boys – To walk 15,000 steps per day’
What is moderate exercise?
Moderate exercise is a physical activity that generally raises a person’s heart and breathing rates above their normal levels when they are not exercising. Activities that are classed as moderate exercise include walking, brisk walking, jogging, gardening, swimming, riding a bike, dancing and even house work.
For an activity to be called moderate it must be at least 10 minutes in length. The 30 minute guideline for adults can be broken down into 3 x 10 or 2 x 15 minute sessions if you do not have the time to perform a 30 minute session in one total. The same applies to children.
To make exercise more enjoyable and less time consuming you should make it into a social activity as well by inviting your friends and/or family along and exercise together! Having somebody exercising with you gives you the motivation and support you will need, plus the social interaction is very good for your mental health and wellbeing.
Exercise and the benefits to your health
Exercise is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes occuring whilst lowering blood pressure levels. Exercise is also great for your bones and joints and reduces the risk of getting osteoarthritis later in life, but also reduces the pain caused by those who already have osteoarthritis. Being physically active also reduces the risk of getting certain cancers and can help in delaying or preventing diabetes. Mental health and wellbeing is also greater in those who exercise as exercise releases feel good hormones which make you feel happier and better about yourself. Exercise is proven to help those with low level mental illnesses. Exercise also helps you to lose weight and importantly, maintain your weight loss. To maintain a balanced weight your energy intake must be equal to your energy output.
There is a perception that exercise cost’s a lot of money but you can exercise without paying expensive gym subscriptions. In Sefton there are lots of activities you can do for free! Southport is a cycle town where you can hire bikes for free if you are a Sefton resident, these are available to hire across the town. There is a website dedicated to Southport being a cycle town, it can be found here and contains lots of useful information for any keen cyclists. Within Sefton there are also several green gyms, these gyms are based in various parks across the borough and here you will find exercise machines to use, free of charge! Also if you call Healthy Sefton on 0300 100 1000 they will be able to inform you of the current exercise programs that are available, this will include cycling and walking programmes amongst others.