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Health feature

Dr Carl Ellson - Getting active

9 April 2018

Although the weather hasn’t been what we would have hoped for so far, now could be a great time to get out and about and exercise more, especially now the nights are getting lighter. There’s a lot of sporting action taking place over the next few months including the Commonwealth Games, the football world Cup and the Tour de France that could just be the catalyst you need to improve your health.

Research shows that people are less active nowadays; with many adults now spending more than seven hours a day sitting down and often people feel they’re too busy to get the recommended amount of exercise that they need.

One way to get active could be to take part in the One You ‘Couch to 5K’ campaign, which relaunched again recently. The campaign encourages people to get off their couch, with the target of running 5K within nine weeks. A dedicated app is available to support you along the way and more information can be found at www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

Staying in good condition has a number of health benefits and it’s proven that regular exercise can help combat conditions such as heart disease, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and help to cut the chance of having a stroke.

Physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a number of ways people can get the activity that they need, it doesn’t have to be running or spending endless hours down the gym. Any activity that raises your heart rate, including walking, aerobics, riding a bike, playing sports like tennis or even pushing a lawn mower, will help you reach a suitable level of exercise.

Depending on your age, there are different recommendations of physical activity levels that you need to stay fit, for children and teenagers 60 minutes activity a day is recommended and for adults, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week is what you should be aiming for.

For more information, including hints and tips to get you going visit www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/Pages/Fitnesshome.aspx