Regular exercise is good for you both physically and mentally. It can help lift your mood as well as keep you fit and feeling more energetic. It has proven health benefits for everyone, whatever your age, sex or ability.
Regular physical activity is more beneficial for your wellbeing than short, sharp bursts and it’s never too late to start including exercise in your daily routine. So how exactly can exercise benefit your body?
Regular exercise is great for your heart and can help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Staying active boosts levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in your body and decreases levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, so you can lead a longer, healthier life.
When you’re active, your heart pumps your blood more efficiently around your body. This improves the circulation to all of your organs, including your lungs and brain. Better circulation to your lungs means they can deliver more oxygen to your blood and therefore to the rest of your body. Better circulation to your brain helps keep you alert and improves your memory.
Being overweight or underweight can seriously affect your health and increase your risk of a number of preventable health conditions. You need to eat the correct number of calories to balance the number of calories that you burn each day. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight and if you eat fewer calories each day than your body needs, you’ll lose weight. It is therefore important to find the right balance to maintain a healthy body weight — regular exercise will help.
Exercise also helps lower your blood sugar levels and enables your body to respond better to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. When your body stops responding to insulin properly, you can develop type 2 diabetes, which can affect your whole body, in particular damaging your eyes, nerves and kidneys.
Regular exercise can also help lower your risk of developing certain health conditions and/or better manage their symptoms; this includes:
Regular exercise helps strengthen your muscles. This can help slow down the loss of muscle mass that happens as you get older. Increasing your fitness and stamina can also improve your core strength and balance, reducing your risk of falls and other injuries. Exercise has also been found to slow down the loss of bone density that occurs as a natural part of ageing, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis.
You don’t have to play sports to keep fit. Even a brisk walk can have health benefits and lift your mood. Physical activity stimulates chemicals in your brain, including endorphins, which can help you feel calmer, more relaxed and happier.
After a stressful day, moderate exercise can help relieve tension. However, try not to exercise in the two hours before bedtime as it can make it harder to fall asleep. Conversely, if you get into the habit of exercising regularly, you may notice that you sleep better too.
Some people like the discipline of visiting their local gym regularly, but keeping yourself active with housework and gardening, for example, are also beneficial. You may want to set yourself goals to help you stay motivated and monitor your progress using a fitness tracker.
In general, the recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week eg walking, cycling, swimming and weight training. Alternatively, you can try 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week eg running, cycling at 10mph or faster, swimming lengths and tennis.
Check with your doctor before you begin your new exercise programme if you have not exercised for a long time or you have a chronic (long-term) health problem. Start slowly and build up to the recommended weekly amount of exercise.
Find an exercise that works for you eg if you enjoy exercising alone you can run or walk, but if you find it easier to exercise with company, encourage friends to get active with you or join a local dancing, running or tennis club.
If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.
Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.
Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.
Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.
The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:
Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager
Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.
Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor
Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.
Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing
Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.