Getting activeLife can be extremely hectic, and it is easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active. However, like most things, you just need to plan and prioritise.
There are tremendous benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically. Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.
Adults should consider brisk walking as one good way to be physically active. Many studies show that walking has health benefits and a low risk of injury. Brisk walking can be done year-round and in many locations, such as around the block at home or work, to the bus stop or to the local shops.
The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth – you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse in order to get health benefits. Start out by making small changes, and as you get used to them, gradually add more changes or activities. Aim to build up to 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity physical activity every day.
If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all at once – you can accumulate your 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity by combining a few shorter sessions of about 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day. Research has shown that accumulated short bouts of moderate-intensity activity are just as effective at improving health factors such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
What is moderate-intensity activity?Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate. A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing. Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.
What is vigorous activity?Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult. Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging, and fast cycling.
Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.
For best results to achieving a healthier lifestyle and reducing your risk of developing a chronic disease, combine physical activity with healthy eating. Go to What should I be eating? for some practical tips.
For further information on how you can be more active, go to Where can I find more information? for some other useful links.