Tuesday, September 15, 2015
With almost half of adults in Britain admitting to doing no exercise whatsoever, it is no wonder that as a nation we are facing obesity levels higher than ever before.
A recent study has revealed that while a large percentage of adults claim to be “health conscious”, an astonishing 44% do absolutely nothing in terms of exercise. A lack of regular exercise has been linked to premature deaths in adults, mainly caused by problems such as obesity and heart conditions. This is because when you don’t exercise regularly, the muscles of the body can deteriorate due to lack of use. As the body’s most vital muscle, the heart can also suffer, becoming weaker due to it not being strengthened from increased pumping. Exercise also encourages the lungs to work harder and increase their capacity. Therefore, a lack of exercise can also see the lungs diminish in strength over time.
Choosing to eat well and avoid excess alcohol consumption and smoking is not enough to maintain the body’s general wellbeing. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables and avoiding unhealthy fats and sugars can help to keep your weight in check as well as improving health and some medical conditions. A healthy diet is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle but regular exercise should also play a part. Regular exercise has many benefits including boosting metabolism, releasing of endorphins, increasing blood flow and also strengthening important muscles such as the heart. None of these can be gained by healthy eating alone. Exercise can help to reduce premature death in adults, even just in small amounts. A recent study discovered that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of premature death by 22%.
Many adults believe that if they have not exercised regularly throughout their lives then there is no point starting now. However, it is never too late to start exercising as it can have an immediate positive impact on health and wellbeing. No matter what your age or level of fitness is, regular daily exercise can improve both health and mental wellbeing and should be encouraged at any age. You may be able to go for a daily run or partake in a daily gym session but even small changes in your lifestyle such as taking the stairs not the lift, walking to the shops instead of driving or taking a walk around the office when you’re able can be enough to have a positive effect.
If you are new to exercise then there are some things to avoid. You shouldn’t jump straight into heavy strenuous exercise if your body is not used to it. This could lead to muscle strains as your body is not used to such physical demands. Your heart and lungs will also not be used to being pushed so hard and, in the worst case, this could lead to them failing resulting in a heart attack. You should also avoid setting yourself unrealistic targets. You will have no idea just what your body is capable of and how well you will take to exercise so don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to reach targets and goals in a set time. Take things at your own pace and listen to your body.
It is a good idea to start small when you are new to exercise. Gentle regular exercise such as brisk walking will get your body used to the increased heart and breathing rates that are a result of exercise. Once you have built up your stamina levels, then you can begin to increase the difficulty and length of your exercise. Swimming is also a great way to introduce exercise to your life as it involved using muscles that you don’t normally use. Other exercises perfect for beginners include cycling and gentle yoga.
If you are thinking about starting to introduce exercise to your lifestyle but are not sure where to start or suffer from any medical conditions and are unsure how exercise may affect you, then you can consult your doctor. Your GP will be able to offer you practical advice and tips on what exercises you should start with and how far you should push yourself.