What’s your relationship with exercise?

Exercise is vital for your heath and wellbeing. It can help you lose weight, it keeps your joints supple and your muscles strong, it boosts your immune system, improves your mood, reduces stress, helps prevent osteoporosis and can reduce the symptoms of menopause and ageing.

Yet many people hate it and won’t be seen dead in a gym, or at an exercise class. Others pound the streets, or the treadmill daily, addicted to the highs that exercise can give. However intensive exercise daily can be nearly as damaging to your health as not doing any at all. Excise is not just about going to the gym and pounding away on a treadmill and pumping weights, or doing an exhausting hour of aerobics. If you enjoy these and feel they are benefiting your body, great! However, they are not for everyone.

Exercise should be part of your normal day. The NHS in the UK is challenging everyone to walk 10,000 steps a day. Other than the obvious – going for a walk- here are some ways you can clock up 10,000 steps:

  • Parking further away from work, or the supermarket entrance.
  • If you catch the bus or train, get off a stop earlier.
  • Take the stairs as often as you can – stairs not only add to your steps, but raise your heart rate as well.
  • After every 50 minutes of focused work, get up and walk around. Not only will it add to your step count, but you will be more productive.
  • Doing housework can also be energetic, if you want it to be.
  • Take 10-15 minutes, more if possible, at lunchtime and go for a walk. You will feel energized and will be more productive than if you had continued to sit at your desk.

Formal exercise should be enjoyable, and if it’s not, you are unlikely to keep doing it. There is so much variety, so finding something that you enjoy, which is right for your body type and lifestyle is the key.

Everyone needs cardiovascular exercise that raises the heart rate at least 3 times a week. This can be going for a run, doing an aerobic, or dance class, a brisk walk, or walking up hill, or putting on your favorite piece of music and dancing can be as effective. Research has shown that intensive cardiovascular workouts, especially if there are no rest days can damage the heart.

Flexibility is important as you age, to keep your joints supple and prevent injury. Simple stretching exercises can be performed at home, but initially I would recommend a small Pilates, or yoga class with a qualified instructor, so that you learn how to do the movements safely and what is right for your body. Strength training is also needed to boost muscle mass, and helps with how you look overall, as well as helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi are an excellent way to build strength and flexibility if you don’t want a high impact class. Though they are slow, because they are very controlled and focus on your breath they are a good cardiovascular work out too.

One of my favorite forms of exercise that I’ve recently discovered is ‘Rebounding’ on a small trampoline. It is great in helping improve lymphatic drainage, so helps detoxify your body, boost immune function, improve cardiovascular fitness and even help with getting rid of that stubborn cellulite, without placing any stress on the joints. Just a few minutes each day is all you need and it can be done whilst watching the TV. I bounce whilst the dog is out in the garden doing his business. Research by NASA has found that it can be twice as effective as running on a treadmill!

Struggling to figure out what exercise is best for you? Join ph360 and receive advice on the best forms of exercise for you along with a series of exercises to help you and your unique body get in shape, to improve your health and wellbeing.

By Pam Lob

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