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Exercise

Programmes, workouts and tips to get you moving and improve your fitness and well-being. Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64. Adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Exercise (just once or twice a week) can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. Speak to your GP first if you have not exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns. Make sure your activity and level of intensity are appropriate for your fitness. Adults should aim to:

  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) at least 2 days a week

  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week

  • spread exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week, or every day

  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

You can also achieve your weekly activity target with:

  • several short sessions of very vigorous-intensity activity

  • a mix of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous-intensity activity

These guidelines are also suitable for:

  • disabled adults

  • pregnant women and new mothers

When you start exercising after pregnancy, make sure your physical activity choices reflect your activity levels before pregnancy. You should include strength training. After your 6- to 8-week postnatal check, you can start to do more intense activities if you feel you're able to. Vigorous activity is not recommended if you were inactive before pregnancy.





DIFFERENT LEVELS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Moderate

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.

Examples of moderate intensity activities include:

  • brisk walking

  • water aerobics

  • riding a bike

  • dancing

  • doubles tennis

  • pushing a lawn mower

  • hiking

  • rollerblading

Vigorous

Very vigorous



WHAT ACTIVITIES STRENGTHEN MUSCLES?

To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the activity.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you're at home or in a gym.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • carrying heavy shopping bags

  • yoga

  • pilates

  • tai chi

  • lifting weights

  • working with resistance bands

  • doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups

  • heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling

  • wheeling a wheelchair

  • lifting and carrying children

Try exercise routines like:

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days as your aerobic activity – whatever's best for you.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are not always an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them as well as your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.






BENEFITS OF EXERCISE Exercise is the miracle cure we've always had, but for too long we've neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. This is no snake oil! Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. HEALTH BENEFITS Given the overwhelming evidence supporting this matter, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It's essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age. It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have a lower risk of:



WHAT COUNTS? To stay healthy, the UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines, on GOV.UK, state that adults should try to be active every day and aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week, through a variety of activities. For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking for health or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier. For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. If you're working at a moderate intensity, you should still be able to talk but you won't be able to sing the words to a song. An activity where you have to work even harder is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it's vigorous activity because you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.


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