Monday, 6 June 2016

Inactivity as Harmful as Smoking?

I'm currently studying for a qualification in Fitness Coaching for Older Adults, as well as helping to provide more opportunities for the older population to get active in the Bracknell Forest area, so the area of study around the Wellderly population is of real interest to me. I've been heartened to see the difference that taking up exercise can make, at any stage in life, and regrettably I've also seen what can happen when a person doesn't stay active.

Part of the issue is that many people feel daunted by the idea of taking up physical activity, especially in later life. But it isn't about punishing gym sessions, uncoordinated zumba classes or "nifty fifties" sessions. Building more activity into day to day living is ideal, walking the dog a bit further, swimming, cycling, walking with friends, anything that is enjoyable.

Recommendations are that we do 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. That's 30 minutes on five days and that could be in bouts of as little as 10 minutes at a time, yet 2 out of 3 adults in the UK fail to achieve this. And so researchers are starting to refer to the harm caused by inactivity rather than promote the benefits of staying active.
The burden on health care brought about my physical inactivity is huge. It is estimated that inactivity is responsible for almost as many deaths per year as smoking. Shock tactics, perhaps, but it starts to bring the message home.

Exercise doesn't only help with weight loss but can help improve mood, strengthen bones, manage insomnia and compliment treatment for a whole host of medical conditions such as COPD, diabetes, asthma and arthritis.

It's never too late, or indeed too early, to start building more activity into your life. Your health and well being should be a top priority (although even I don't always make it so). Making the time and finding something you enjoy doing is possible for all of us.

What's one thing you can do differently this week that can help you achieve your activity target and achieve a healthier lifestyle?

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