The Department of Health recommends that adults should do 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, such as cycling or fast walking, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). By meeting recommended levels of physical activity, your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes is reduced by up to 50%. Physical activity can also boost selfesteem, mood, sleep quality and energy. And it’s never too late to start...
Get moving now
Find a way of being active that you enjoy and you’re more likely to keep it up. Get your heart beating faster and your lungs working harder for at least 10 minutes at a time. Try going for a brisk walk in the park or a bike ride, or even dancing to the radio. It can also be a great way of reducing your stress levels and lifting your mood if you’re feeling down.
Start with reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down – get up, stretch your legs more often and do more steps each day. Take the stairs whenever you can and go on a brisk walk to the shops instead of driving.
Building your strength keeps your muscles, bones and joints strong, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure and help maintain a healthy weight. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include carrying or moving heavy loads such as groceries, stepping and jumping such as dancing, heavy gardening such as digging or shovelling and exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups or lifting weights.
Protect your mind
Being active is really good for your mind as well as your body. Getting some physical activity each day can help prevent you getting depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Moving more can also help you get a good night’s sleep, which helps your brain to rest and recharge.
Enjoy life now and tomorrow
Being active slows the natural breakdown of your bones and muscles, and helps you maintain a healthy weight and good circulation. It also helps maintain your brain. Being active helps keep you healthy and prevents health conditions that can hold you back.
Choosing more active ways to get around is a fun and easy way to fit more activity into your daily routine – it can also be good for your pocket and the environment. The Peterborough Green Wheel offers 45 miles of on-road and traffic-free cycle paths in and around the city. Find out more at Travelchoice. They can also provide you with a personalised travel plan. www.travelchoice.org.uk
Not being active increases your risk of many conditions that will impact on your future quality of life, including dementia, osteoarthritis and general physical limitations in older age. Older adults can be more at risk of falling, and should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week, such as yoga, tai chi and dancing.
Want to know more?
There are lots of resources and support that can help to improve our levels of physical activity, as highlighted by Public Health England’s ‘One You’ campaign.
People can take the One You quiz to get feedback on various aspects of their lifestyle and get tips on how to make positive changes. For information on sources of support visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou