Physical activity is any bodily movement and is most beneficial if it raises the heart rate and causes slight shortness of breath. Daily activities such as walking, housework and gardening can be as beneficial as more structured exercise e.g. swimming, cycling, gym. It is better to choose something that you enjoy to make it more likely that you will do more.
The government recommends that, to promote good health, adults, who are able to, do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle strengthening activites on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). This is for general good health and will help with weight loss, although aiming for an hour a day is more effective for weight loss. If you can’t do it at once then try it in small bursts of 5 to 10 minutes. Exercise doesn’t mean you need to join the gym, it could be walking, swimming, gardening, dancing or even household activities.
Physical activity is good for us because:
• It makes us feel good in mind and body
• It can be a fun way of spending time with friends and family
• It strengthens muscles, joints and bones and both improves fitness in the young and prolongs mobility as we get older
• It strengthens the heart and lungs and helps protect against diseases
• It helps us relax and sleep at night
• It helps prevent constipation