Regular exercise not only helps us to lose a bit of weight and tone our bodies, but has a whole wealth of health benefits as well.
Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean having to slog it out at the gym – there are many gentle forms of exercise that will still help to improve your overall health and fitness. Low-impact forms of exercising like walking, swimming, and cycling are a great way to help improve your overall fitness levels as well as improving your cardiovascular health. Low-impact exercise is easier on your knees and joints than many other forms of exercise, yet still gives you a good workout to bring about some great health benefits.
The good news is that even everyday activities such as gardening or housework can count towards your exercise goals.
Health Benefits of Exercise
The benefits of exercise to your health include:
Cardiovascular health & disease
Exercise helps to improve your cardiovascular health. Improving your cardiovascular health can help to reduce your risk of developing many diseases and illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes.
Circulation and blood flow
Exercise can help to increase the body’s circulation and boost blood flow around the body.
Mental health and stress
Exercise can help to improve your mental well-being and reduce stress thanks to boosted blood flow and oxygen flow to the brain.
When you exercise, the body releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body and brain. This helps to ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem and also helps to improve sleep.
Lungs and breathing
The increase of blood and oxygen flow that exercise brings about helps to increase your lung capacity and improve your breathing.
The improved blood flow and circulation that exercise brings about helps to flush out toxins from your body, leaving your body healthier and more able to build-up a better resistance to disease.
Toning and strengthening
Exercise will help to tone your body and strengthen muscles and bones.
Low-impact exercise such as cycling is particularly helpful for people recovering from injuries to help them strengthen muscles and bones, and build their health and fitness back up. Cycling on an indoor exercise bike, especially a recumbent bike, is particularly good for this because your body weight is supported by the bike.
Weight and body fat
Exercise will help you to burn calories, reduce body fat and lose weight. Different types of exercise will burn varying amounts of calories, depending on the amount of time spent exercising and the intensity of the exercise.
See this article for a list of exercises and how many calories you can burn:
To continue to get the full health benefits from exercise, it is recommended that you exercise at least 2-3 times a week for a minimum of 20-30 minutes.
Exercising can be fun! Why not involve the whole family – go for a walk together, or a bike ride, or play bowls for example. Use your imagination, there are plenty of activities you can do that won’t make you feel like you’re working out at all!
If you’re feeling more competitive, why not find a club you can join where you can motivate each other and compete with others in a particular sport, e.g. cycling, bowling.
There’s nothing like the exhilarating feel of exercising outdoors in the fresh air, but for those days when the weather is bad, why not consider investing in an indoor exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical trainer or even a rowing machine to help keep your fitness levels up. There’s such a great variety of exercise machines to choose from that you’ll never find exercising boring again! Plus you can listen to music or watch TV while you exercise, making exercise easy and fun. The great news is that you get the same aerobic benefits of exercising indoors as you would outdoors.
N.B. It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional before undertaking any new exercise regime.
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