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The positive effects from exercise


04 November, 2013 | In: The Training Room

Do you currently take part in regular physical activity, not including your daily household chores? Did you know that exercise can help to prevent or manage a wide range of health problems?

Many associate exercise with weight loss and staying fit but it has far more benefits than just the latter. Stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain forms of cancer, arthritis and falls can all be averted through regular physical activity. Exercise can also have important health benefits on chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or back or joint pain reducing your risk by up to 50% and lowering your risk of early death by up to 30%.

If you or someone you know suffers with a chronic condition, here is how regular exercise can help you not only manage the symptoms but improve your overall health;

Heart disease – strength training improves muscle strength and endurance therefore making it easier to do daily activities and help to slow disease-related declines in muscle strength.

Diabetes – regular exercise can help aid insulin regulation more effectively and stabilise your blood sugar level. It will also help to boost your energy and manage your weight.

Asthma – through exercise asthma attacks – their frequency and severity – can be controlled.   

Back pain – partaking in regular low-impact exercise can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Core-strengthening exercises help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around the spine.

Arthritis – exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints and reduce joint stiffness.

Exercise is a miracle cure for so much! Its free, it has immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get it. As a consequence of a lack of exercise amongst the general population, our health is suffering. However old you are, strong scientific evidence shows that if you are physically active you will lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.

A boost to self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and energy, reduced risk of stress, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s are just some additional positive outcomes to physical activity.

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented” Dr Nick Cavill. This is because it has been medically proven that people who undergo regular physical activity have:

  • Up to 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • A 30% lower risk of early death
  • Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis (when partaking in weight bearing exercise)
  • Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

Exercise is a very broad term, so what actually counts to have a significant impact on your health? An activity that has a moderate-intensity therefore raising your heart rate and making you break out into a sweat such as walking briskly, aqua aerobics, riding a bike, playing tennis etc.

Different groups have different recommended physical activity levels; children under 5 should do 180 minutes every day, 5-18 years olds should do 60 minutes every day and adults (19+ years old) should do 150 - 200 minutes every week.

The latter figures are a rarity these days due to sedentary lifestyles, i.e. sitting down for long periods of time, caused by technology, making our lives easier. This inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer” and is thought to increase the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes as well as weight gain and obesity.

Everyone leads busy lifestyles so it means we need to think about what physical activity we can include into our days that suit our lifestyles. It is time to leave the sedentary lifestyle behind and get active!

Statistics and information from the NHS 

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