Article 21 May 2021

Let’s get physical

So many of us have stayed at home much more than we usually would over the last twelve months. It’s been easy to let our physical health suffer because we’ve not been as active as we used to be, or would like to be.

Have you put on weight during lockdown? Got some new aches and pains? Feel a bit blue? It’s so important to stay active because it improves mental and physical health. Right now, that might mean trying to plan some activity into your day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week.​​​​​​​

WHO tells us physical activity benefits both our body and mind because:

  • It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers
  • It improves bone and muscle strength and increases balance, flexibility and fitness. For older people, activities that improve balance can help to prevent falls and injuries.
  • It can help give our days a routine and be a way to stay in contact with family and friends.
  • It’s good for our mental health – reducing the risk of depression, cognitive decline and delay the potential onset of dementia making us generally feel better.​​​​​​​

​​​​

Get outdoors

Not sure where to start? Here are a few more tips for incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.

If you don’t fancy the gym, why not check out the NHS fitness studio which has a range of instructor-led videos from 10 to 45 minutes each, for aerobics, strength and resistance, pilates and yoga. There are workouts that are suitable for pre and postnatal ladies, as well as for people with health problems such as back pain.

Download the NHS Couch to 5K programme and start running. Running is a great way to improve your overall fitness and you don’t need any equipment except a pair of trainers. It can boost your self-esteem by setting and achieving a target.

You can combine this with the NHS Strength and Flex exercise plan, a 5-week series of equipment-free exercises designed to improve your strength and flexibility.

Cycling is a great form of exercise and is something the whole family can get involved in. The Bikeability website has lots of suggestions of cycle routes, tips for beginners and training. If you’re new to cycling or haven’t been for a long time, make sure you get your bike checked over first and always wear a helmet.

Join the Movement is a Sport England campaign, funded by The National Lottery, providing simple, fun and free ways to get active, both indoors and outdoors. They also have loads of links to on demand content and apps along with fitness challenges and ways to access local outdoor activities and classes.

And don’t forget that walking is great physical exercise and burns calories. It’s not too late to get involved in Living Streets campaign #walkthismay and pledge to walk as many short journeys as you can during National Walking Month.

Exercise at home