Since the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, there has been renewed interest in sport, and more awareness of its importance in relation to health.
Regular physical activity cuts the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and other chronic conditions. It’s also been found to increase self esteem and general energy, to improve sleep, and to decrease the occurrence of depression, stress, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Moderate exercise should raise your heart beat, and cause you to break into a sweat. Brisk walking or cycling, even on fairly level ground, fills this criteria, so by simply changing your method of getting about, you can become fitter without interrupting your daily routine too much.
If you’re a keen gardener, you probably already know all about overdoing it, but take the opportunity to get those DIY jobs done around the house, too. Use stairs rather than lifts when you’re out, and tackle as many hills as you can.
Make it a social activity, so that you’re less likely to give up. Visit your local swimming baths, or join a sports club or evening classes. Aerobics and dancing count just as much! If you like to go out dancing, you’re part way towards your goal already, as long as you don’t cancel out the effects with too much alcohol.
Exercise can be the equivalent of a low-cost or free drug with no side effects, but one that we can easily incorporate into our everyday lives. It’s not necessary to join a gym or buy specialist equipment, although if that encourages you to get involved, and helps to maintain your commitment, then go for it!