The importance of exercise

Building activity into your day keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of serious illness and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also be a great way of reducing your stress levels and lifting your mood if you’re feeling down. Being active means getting your heart rate up, feeling warmer (perhaps even breaking into a light sweat) and making your lungs work harder. The recommendation for adults is to be active for at least 150 minutes each week.

Not only will you feel good after exercising but if you are looking to lose weight then you will be burning extra calories every time you exercise. It is important you choose exercise that you enjoy and then you are more likely to stick with it.

Research has also shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression. It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your partner. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.

With so many healthy benefits it really is important we build in lots of opportunity for moderate exercise into our weekly routines. Some examples of moderate exercise include:

  • Cycling

  • Dancing

  • Gardening

  • Golf (walking instead of using the cart)

  • Housework - especially sweeping, mopping or vacuuming

  • Jogging at a moderate pace

  • Low-impact aerobics

  • Playing tennis

  • Swimming

  • Walking

  • Yoga

For more information about healthy eating and exercise see NHS Change for Life