Fit For Life? The Benefits of Exercise

It was my birthday last week and I think my subconscious must have been telling me something - the Facebook posts that had been catching my eye were all of elderly exercisers!

It is one of my fitness aims that I will be able to stay healthy and mobile as I age. So these older women have become my new inspiration! And the great thing is - many of them came to exercise in later life because of their health problems. So it's never too late to start!

I know a lot of people, myself included, first turned to exercise as a way to lose weight. But there are so many more benefits which is why it should be seen as a lifelong habit and not a quick fix.

Unfortunately a survey by one of the big health chains has found that 44% of people do no exercise at all and 48% of those surveyed didn't see being fit and healthy as an integral part of their lives. This despite the NHS saying exercise can be seen as a miracle cure! It has been shown to lower the risk of:
  • Chronic heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Early death
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hip fracture
  • Falls in older people
  • Depression
  • Dementia
In addition it can improve:
  • Self-esteem
  • Mood
  • Sleep quality
  • Energy
  • Stress levels
I think part of this resistance to exercise could be because of people's perception of gyms. So it's great that there are now so many options to do classes outside of the gym setting. But of course exercise isn't limited to classes or the gym.  It can include any kind of movement - swimming, sports, dance, outdoor activity, playing with the kids, gardening. And it doesn't have to hurt for it to be doing good! Get sweaty, have your heart rate go up, pant a bit  - but No Pain, No Gain doesn't have to be your mantra!

The best advice in order to get the health benefits of exercise is to move more, sit less and then find an exercise you love and do it regularly!


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