Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Exercise Health Benefits

Besides helping to keep our bodies trim, regular exercise can help to improve our overall health and general well-being, including reducing our risk of developing a range of diseases and lifting our moods.

Keeping active doesn’t have to be hard work.  If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like going to the gym, don’t despair, there are plenty of other ways to introduce exercise into your daily life that won’t hurt!  Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting off the bus a stop earlier than you need to and walk the rest of the way.  Little activities done regularly all add up!

Exercise can be fun!  Why not try working out or going for a walk or cycle ride with friends or family to make it more enjoyable.  There’s nothing like the exhilarating feel of the fresh air outdoors but for those days when the weather’s not so good, consider investing in an indoor exercise bike or other piece of home gym equipment so you can continue to reap the benefits of exercising in the comfort of your own home.

Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming or cycling all bring great health and fitness benefits but with less impact on your joints.  Even everyday activities like housework or gardening count towards your fitness goals.  Try to aim for at least 2x or 3x 20-30 minutes of activities weekly to maintain your exercise health benefits.

Let’s take a look in more detail at how regular exercise can benefit your health:

Reduce body fat & control your weight

Let’s begin with the obvious!  Regular exercise can help you to reduce body fat and control your weight.  As you exercise, your body will burn calories to help with weight loss.  Different types of exercises burn different amount of calories and actual calories burned can vary from person to person depending on factors such as your age and weight to begin with.  Men tend to burn more calories than women for the same amount of exercise time.

Examples of calories you could burn with different exercises

·         30 minutes of fast walking:  approx.  172 calories for women or 210 for men
·         30 minutes of leisurely cycling:  approx.  207 calories for women or 252 for men
·         30 minutes swimming:  approx.  207 calories for women or 252 for men
·         30 minutes gardening:  approx.  138 calories for women or 168 for men
·         30 minutes jogging on a treadmill:  approx.  465 calories for women or 566 for men

Actual amount of calories burned is dependent on the intensity at which the exercise is performed.  See more examples of calories burned exercising here:  Calories Burned Exercising

Tone and strengthen the body

Not only could regular exercise help to tone the body and strengthen muscles, but it could help to strengthen bones.

If you have an old injury you don’t want to aggrevate and have been advised to exercise to help strengthen the muscles and bones, then low impact exercise is best for you.  Many people find cycling either outdoors or on an indoor exercise bike perfect for this as the bike supports your body weight and there’s no impact on your joints.  Recumbent bikes are ideal in this situation because they sit lower to the ground and are easy to mount and dismount and offer a more laid-back feel with a backrest for added support.

Improve cardiovascular health & reduce risk of developing a range of diseases

Regular exercise can help to improve your cardiovascular health, helping to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Improve circulation & flush out toxins

Regular exercise can help to increase circulation and boost blood flow around the body.  This in turn helps to flush out toxins from the body, improving your overall health and helping your body to build up better resistance to disease.

Improve lung capacity

Regular exercise also helps to increase the oxygen flow around the body which in turn helps to increase your lung capacity and encourages better breathing.

Improve mental well-being

Because regular exercise can help to boost blood and oxygen flow to the brain, you could improve your overall mental well-being and reduce stress.

Exercise also helps to release the body’s natural feel-good hormones called endorphins.  Endorphins help to trigger positive feelings, helping to ward off anxiety and boost self-esteem.  Your improved mental well-being will in turn help you get a better night’s sleep!

N.B.  It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional before undertaking any new exercise regime.

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