The benefits of exercise are numerous. Exercising is good for your heart, bones, arteries and muscles, in addition to improving your overall mental health. The good news is, all forms of exercise count including walking, cycling, swimming and even climbing stairs. Physical activity makes your body burn more calories, not just while you are exercising, but throughout the day.
So if you exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet, you will find it easier to manage your weight and strengthen your muscles. If you have a medical problem you should discuss your exercise and diet programme with your physician beforehand.
The health benefits of physical activity include:
- Prevention of heart diseases and stroke
- Reducing blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Improvement of mental health, decreased depression and improvement in relaxation and sleep
- Improvement of bone health and prevention of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
- Improvement in cholesterol profile with an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease in LDL(bad cholesterol)
- Aim for at least 30 minutes per day of continuous exercise such as brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, and swimming. The intensity of the exercise should make you breathless.
- Make your goals realistic; start off slow and build up your exercise regime over weeks. People over the age of 40 or those with pre-existing medical conditions should consult their doctor before starting.
- Park your car further away from your destination and walk.
- Regularly use the stairs instead of the lift.
- Many people are more likely to maintain their exercise regime with the support of friends or family; find an exercise partner to come for a walk, run or to the gym with you.
Remember: Any increase in the activity that you are doing now will help you to lose weight. Following a balanced diet and being more active will help control your weight and improve your overall health.