Why is Exercise Important

Why is exercise important?

Exercise is important for everyone because it helps our bodies keep strong and healthy throughout our lives.  Not only does exercise keep our minds healthy, it also helps prevent both physical and mental disorders such as diabetes, obesity, depression and conditions such as high blood pressure.  Exercise helps to slow down the ageing process by keeping our bones and joints strong and healthy and it keeps our heart and lungs healthy too.

In addition, exercise helps us improve our stamina by training our body to become more efficient and use less energy while carrying out the same amount of work.  This in turn means that your heart rate and breathing rate can return to resting levels much more quickly after intense activity.

Flexibility is improved with exercise meaning your body can bend and twist easily without causing injury.  Exercise reduces stress and allows you to sleep well thereby meaning you function better during the day with all the trials and tribulations daily life can throw at you.

So what is exercise?

Exercise can be anything from a brisk or long walk with the dog to cleaning the house to running a marathon or doing a triathlon – and everything in between.  Exercise can take many forms and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to visit a gym on a regular basis in order to stay fit.  You could try taking up a sport such as squash, tennis, football, wall climbing or martial arts.  If you’re hobby is a sporting activity, you’ll be getting fit almost without realising you are.  But as long as you get your heart rate up every day for around 30 minutes by either by walking, gardening, running, working out on a treadmill, cycling to and from work etc, then you’ll be doing your body the justice it deserves.

What type of activity should I do?

The government suggests that adults should perform two different types of physical activity every week:  muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises.  Muscle strengthening exercises are anything that’s counted in repetitions such as sit-ups or push-ups or even heavy gardening such as digging and shovelling.  Aerobic exercises are anything that increases your heart rate such as a very brisk walk or run, swimming, cycling or aerobics.

Remember to warm up and cool down

Most forms of exercise require you to warm up the body and cool down afterwards.  It’s important to prepare the body for exercise in order to avoid injury.  Warm up exercises should start slowly and build with intensity to allow your heart rate to increase slowly and to increase the flow of blood to your muscles to help deliver oxygen and nutrients.  If you don’t warm up your body first, it will not be prepared for the higher demands being made on it and injury can occur.  And cooling down after exercise allows your heart rate to return to normal, helps remove waste products from your muscles and helps to stretch your muscles when they’re still warm.