A recent Cambridge University study reports that lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity. If you're inactive, you're at risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study shows that daily exercise reduces this risk. Even a small amount of exercise will help.
Regular exercise benefits your health in many ways, including:
Walking is ideal for all ages and fitness levels - and it’s free!
The NHS has a handy guide to help you get started.
If you regularly get off the bus one stop early, and take the stairs instead of the lift, you’ll feel the benefits without much change to your daily routine. Housework and gardening are also great for keeping you moving!
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right” (G M Trevelyan)
Choose to get active at the same time each day, and you'll find this quickly becomes part of your regular daily routine.
For example, try to fit a brisk daily 20-minute walk into your lunch hour, or on your way to/from work.
If you exercise outdoors, you’ll benefit from sunlight topping up your levels of vitamin D – fantastic for bone health.
Weight-bearing exercise means carrying your body weight in activities such as jogging, brisk walking, tennis, dancing, weight training in the gym, and low-to-high intensity workouts.
This protects your bone density and reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis: especially important for post-menopausal women, but essential for all women and men too. Check out our page on Keeping Your Bones Strong.
Yoga and tai chi are good for bone density. Cycling and swimming don’t count as weight-bearing exercise – but both are great for your general health and fitness.
Stretching is important for your flexibility and reduces your risk of muscle strains and soft-tissue injuries.
As well as stretching out before and after a workout, you should include full-body stretches at least 3 days a week. Each stretch should last 10-30 seconds. You'll find excellent stretching exercise routines online.
Sitting for hours damages your health. Even if you exercise every day, sitting for long periods can diminish the benefits of all that physical activity.
When you’re stuck at a desk, grab a breath of fresh air, make a cup of tea, go and speak to a colleague rather than sending an email.
Standing increases your heart rate, lowers your blood glucose level and burns more calories.
Try to stand for at least 10 minutes every hour.
The World Health Organisation says inactivity is the 4th biggest killer of adults. Yet the average British adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting.