You don’t have to be an athlete to be fit and healthy ...
All fitness really means is that you are able to perform physical activity. Maintaining physical activity results in increased energy and strength and ultimately keeps your body in good health and shape.
A brisk walk every day (moderate exercise or activity) is as little as you may need to stay reasonably healthy. When you increase activity, you can reap even more healthy benefits.
Exercise helps you feel better and have more sustained energy for other things in your life, such as leisure time (gardening, dancing, biking or even just playing with young children) and work.
When you stay active, you burn more calories (even when you’re resting) helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Improving your fitness levels is also good for your heart, brain, lungs, bones, muscles and joints.
The healthy benefits of exercise lower your risk of heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Getting fit with appropriate exercise can also help to keep some of these conditions under control if you already have any one of these health problems. Additional benefits include improved sleep, a sharper mind and memory, and the ability to handle stress better.
Physical fitness can be achieved in three kinds of ways – aerobic fitness increases the pace of your breathing, making your heart beat faster and work harder. Walking, running, cycling and swimming are all great cardiovascular / aerobic activities. Muscle fitness is all about strength and achieving stronger muscles, as well as how long you can use them. Weight training (weight lifting and push-ups) is the best way to improve your levels of muscular fitness. The third is flexibility that allows you the ability to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Yoga and Pilates are brilliant stretching activities that can help you become flexible.
Moderate levels of activity can make all the difference and is safe for most people. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before increasing your fitness levels with aerobic, muscle training or flexibility if you haven’t been very active before or have health problems.
Slow and steady wins the race. You can achieve optimum levels of fitness at a gradually increased pace. The important thing is to choose activities you most enjoy. Make physical activity part of your regular day and you’ll reap the most benefits for a healthier way of life… for life.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the various aspects of exercise and fitness, from the latest trends to tried and tested methods to get you moving in a way you enjoy.