Exercise, Why bother?
Ten tips to get fit.
1. The minimum recommended level of strenuous physical exercise is 30 – 40 minutes three times a week for adults, and six times a week for children and teenagers.
2. Aerobic exercises that gets your heart beating fast and your breathing rate up continuously for 30 to 40 minutes is the best (e.g. brisk walk, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, rowing, football, tennis, P.E. etc.) Shorter exercise sessions more frequently will also work (10 -15 minutes 6 times a week).
3. You are more likely to keep up your exercise programme if you do activities that you enjoy with others.
4. A good rule of thumb is you should spend as much time exercising as you do in front of a screen (e.g. the total time spent at the cinema, watching tv, on the internet, and playing computer or video games)
5. If you are beginning an exercise programme, start gradually and build up slowly.
6. Remember to stretch all your muscles for three to five minutes before and after exercise.
7. Wear suitable clothing; e.g. waterproof clothing if it is raining and a reflective vest and torch at night.
8. Drink plenty of isotonic fluids before, during and after exercise;
9. There are many physical benefits to regular physical exercise:
• Increased muscle strength
• Reduced weight, especially if combined with a sensible eating programme.
• Reduced blood pressure
• Reduced cholesterol levels
• Reduced heart rate
• Reduced back pain
10. There are many mental benefits to regular physical exercise:
• Increased concentration at work, school and for exams
• Increased mood – physical exercise releases endorphins, which can result in a “runner’s high”.
• Increased desire for sex and enhanced sexual performance
• Better sleep patterns – exercise increases the body demand for sleep
• Reduces stress
• Reduces depression and anxiety
• Reduces cravings, e.g. for cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine or sugar.
If there was a drug that could do all of this, everyone would be on it. However, regular physical exercise costs nothing and is free of side effects!
By Dr David Buckley