In order to maintain a healthy body, we all require regular activity. Physical activity includes all forms of movement, not just formal exercise or participating in a sport. Play, dance, house cleaning and even carrying heavy shopping are all ways to keep physically active. Even a short break from sitting, by doing 5 minutes of physical movement (such as walking or stretching) will ease muscle strain, relieve mental tension and improve blood circulation.
Benefits of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers. It also improves bone and muscle strength and increases balance, flexibility and fitness.
Regular physical activity also improves mental health and can reduce the risk of depression, cognitive decline and the onset of dementia, also improving overall feelings of wellbeing.
Recommendations are to:
- aim for 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day, where you feel slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation. [Note, recommendation for children is 1 hour]. As your fitness increases, you will find that you have to work harder to become out of breath and this in turn will increase your fitness level.
- Make sure to warm up before starting any set activities or exercise programs and gradually ease your body in through the first few minutes.
- Try to find activities that you enjoy, taking part with other people will help keep up motivation. Grandparents can exercise with grandchildren over Whatsapp/ FaceTime to make activities more interactive and fun.
- Build regular physical activity into your daily routine.
- Make use of online exercise videos.
The community physiotherapy team have a series that are around 20 minutes’ duration and are suitable for all skill levels (see links below). Change4Life offer some great child-friendly activities including 10 minute ‘shake-up’ ideas that the family can complete together (Click here to visit their site).