Exercising regularly is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. As well as helping you maintain a healthy weight and improving your sleep, it lowers your risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. And not only is regular exercise good for your body, it’s good for your mind, mood and memory too.
There is a link between sport and wellbeing and being physically active can ease depression, relieve stress and anxiety, enhance self-esteem, and improve your whole outlook on life. What’s more, you don’t have to spend long hours in a gym to reap these benefits. Whatever your age, state of health or fitness level, you can develop an exercise program that’s right for you.
To keep healthy we need to be active every day in as many ways as we can. Being active in small ways throughout the day can make a big difference. Short bouts of 10 minutes can be beneficial when they add up to 30 minutes on most days of the week. Remember that the recommended amount is 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, so if you are active just over 20 minutes a day, or 30 minutes five times a week, you’ll be hitting this target.
You may need to experiment with different types of exercise before you find the activity that suits you. Try not to be discouraged if you don’t enjoy exercising immediately, it will take you a little bit of time for your mind and body to get used to this new physical activity, and you may struggle at first. Find ways to keep motivated that work for you. This could be rewarding yourself every time you workout (though bingeing on unhealthy foods as a reward is not recommended), finding friends to work out with you or tracking your progress in a way that works for you.
If you’re unsure about which activity is right for you, try exploring our sections on different activities to find one that appeals. You can also start asking around and see if a friend or colleague has any recommendations of things you might be interested in doing, or clubs you could do.