‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on 5 September 2012, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
“Hi Spire Gatwick Park, after watching Team GB power through and excel in the London Olympics 2012, I genuinely feel inspired to get off my spectator sofa and get out to do some exercise or activity of some kind! It has been many years since I have done anything properly and I wonder what is the best activity to start with? What would you advise and how much is best?” Janice, Redhill.
Dr Judith Johnson said, “Dear Janice, I am delighted that The Olympics have inspired you to return to exercise. Exercise has many positive health benefits and is a great stress buster. It would be sensible to start gradually with a little jogging, swimming or cycling (remembering to do a pre and post exercise and gentle muscle stretching routine to minimise muscle tears).
Wear comfortable clothing and particularly ensure that your footwear is well fitting. You should aim for a level of exercise such that you can just about carry out a conversation. If you have not been in the habit of regular exercise it is important to build up gradually, with the eventual aim of a minimum 3 sessions per week of about 25 minutes duration. Try to persuade family members or a friend to join in with you to make the sessions more enjoyable.
It is a good idea to consider having a health check prior to beginning your new regime. Bupa Health and Wellbeing offer a range of health assessments, many of which include a consultation with a health advisor and doctor who are able to give you valuable advice on ways to improve your general health and fitness. The Advanced Health Screen gives you an overall fitness score based on your performance on an exercise bike and this is then used to plan an exercise programme for the future tailored to your specific requirements. Other aspects covered by a health assessment will be a full review of your blood profile including cholesterol check, blood glucose and dietary discussion. Seize the moment and embrace a healthy future!”