Do you want to increase your chances of living a healthier life? We are sure you do, but did you know just how much of a role regular physical activity plays in helping you to do so? We want to encourage you to think about the concept of “active living”, so here are just some of the health benefits that being more active on a daily basis can bring.
Regular exercise may protect against coronary heart disease by controlling the amount of cholesterol in the blood and improving the ratio of HDL/LDL.
LDL or low-density lipoprotein is lousy. It carries cholesterol away from the liver into the bloodstream where it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels, eventually causing them to fur and harden. HDL or high-density lipoprotein is happy. It carries cholesterol back to the liver where it is broken down. Imagine HDL like a scouring pad. It belts through your arteries, scrubbing the fatty deposits away.
Cholesterol is made by the liver, partly from our food and partly naturally, and is needed to help the brain, skin and organs grow and do their jobs.
Recent evidence suggests that middle-aged or older people who take up regular, moderate-intensity physical exertion have a 23% reduced risk of having a heart attack compared to their counterparts who do not do any exercise.
• Being active helps development and maintenance of bone density.
• It reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
• It reduces the risk of developing cancer or renal disease.
• It reduces the chances of developing the type of diabetes that is linked to being overweight.
• It increases your chances of living longer.
Now you know why being active is so good, why not set yourself an action plan for this week? Remember, you’re never too young – or too old – to start.
Aim to do 30 minutes of activity (no matter how busy your schedule) on five days of the week. In terms of health, the amount you do is important.
• Accumulate exercise throughout the day to achieve a 30-minute total.
• Choose food wisely, according to our recommendations.
• Take up an activity that you enjoy.
• Eliminate, hide or reduce items of convenience or devices that reduce your levels of activity eg the remote control.
• Volume and frequency of exercise is key
• Your lifestyle habits may need changing, but it’s worth it.
• Visit your GP for a blood pressure and cholesterol test.
• Never take your heart and the physiological functions of your body for granted.
Goals for exercise, as for diet, must be achievable and realistic if you are to succeed long term.