The Importance Of Exercise

Exercise is one of the main things your body loves. Without regular activity and exercise your muscles become flabby and weak, your heart and lungs don't function efficiently and your joints become stiff and easily injured. There are a great many good reasons why exercise is so important for us but here are some of the main ones;

It Helps Prevent Disease

Our bodies were meant to move -- they love exercise and being worked hard. Regular exercise is vital for physical fitness and long term good health as it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can also improve your appearance and help delay the effects of getting older.

It Improves Stamina

When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking, running and cycling, and improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner after you have done exercise.

It Strengthens and Tones

Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can improve, and your muscles become more firm and toned. If you have trouble with stiff or painful joints, try swimming or aqua aerobics as these types of exercise are low-impact and so help to protect the joints from excessive force.

It Enhances Flexibility

Improving your flexibility through exercise and stretching reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help free up those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed.

It Helps Control Your Weight

Exercise is key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that.

It Helps Improve Quality of Life

Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will find that you feel less stressed, your mood lifts and you sleep better. You may also look and feel younger!

On top of all these health benefits, exercise can be an excellent way to meet new people, whether it's at a gym, a rambling or running club, or just people you meet while walking the dog. If you don’t like the idea of exercising alone, why not try a team sport in a club or join an exercise group -  this can be a good incentive to keep your new fitness programme going!

It is very important to try to be consistent with your exercise, not only to get the full range of benefits but also to help reduce the chances of becoming injured through ‘stop-start’ training. Don’t be tempted to think that more is better either - doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis can cause problems such as muscle and tendon strains, loss of muscle, and chronic tiredness.

If you are a beginner, start off slower than you think you should. Three days per week is realistic, safe and effective. If you are experienced, do cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises such as walking, jogging and cycling for no more than 200 minutes per week, for no more than 60 minutes per session.

Many people forget to stretch or make the excuse that they don't have enough time. Stretching can be done every day, but stick to a minimum of three times per week in order to reap the benefits. When the body is warmed up, such as after a workout session, perform five to 10 stretches that target the major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds.

As you get older, exercise is still vital and you will get the benefit from it whatever your age.

Keeping active strengthens your muscles, joints and bones as well as helping with mobility and balance – this in turn helps to prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury and death for the over-75s