Exercise and your body

Published February 12, 2014

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Physical exercise is one of the cornerstones of good health, regardless of our age or ability and can improve how we look, feel and perform in various ways. Here are our top reasons for getting your body moving.

  1. Balances weight – Regular exercise is an important part of achieving or maintaining a healthy weight. To sustain weight loss, it’s generally recommended that adults get 60‐90 minutes of moderate‐intensity physical activity a day in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.1 This can be achieved through structured physical activity such as brisk walking, cycling or a pump class and ‘incidental’ exercise such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator or walking to the shops instead of driving.
  2. Improves mood – Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? Exercise is one of the best stress‐relievers around because it releases feel‐good chemicals known as endorphins that leave us feeling happier and more relaxed. It can also distract you from whatever worries are on your mind and help you to sleep well. Try a walk around the block at lunchtime, enjoy the pool with some laps or try a boxing class after work.
  3. Boosts energy – Although it sounds counterintuitive, expending energy by exercising can increase your energy levels in the long run. In fact, a review involving over 6800 people found that regular exercise significantly increases energy and decreases fatigue.2 For an energy lift, go for a brisk walk in the morning, cycle to work or start the day with yoga. Just be active every day in as many ways as you can.
  4. Supports heart health – Like all muscles, the heart will become stronger and function more efficiently with regular exercise. Being active can help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, helps manage weight and reduces the risk of various heart ailments.3 For heart health benefits it’s generally recommended to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week such as jogging, swimming, dancing or cycling.4
  5. Maintains healthy bones, joints and muscles – Research shows that regular exercise can strengthen bones and helps slow the rate of bone loss, increases muscle mass and strength, and maintains joint health and flexibility. Exercise can reduce the risk of age‐related changes to muscles, bones and joints, and reverse these changes as well.5 For the best results combine cardio exercise such as jogging, swimming or playing tennis with weight training and stretching exercises.

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