Staying active is an important part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. With many of us spending our days sitting behind desks, there’s a global push to get people up and moving. Household tasks are now also less physically demanding than in previous years, thanks to the invention of some clever home technology.
There are such a range of exercise options to explore, so that you can choose something that works for your level of fitness, the amount of time you have, and what you enjoy doing. Exercise might not be your activity of choice, but it doesn’t need to be a chore.
What many people don’t realise is that staying active isn’t just good for your physical health – it’s also great for your mental health. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your overall health, staying active is a great place to start. Here, we take a look at just some of the benefits.
There are plenty of physical benefits to exercise, and these positives are perhaps the first thing that everyone thinks of when it comes to the importance of being active. You don’t need to be an elite athlete, either – the World Health Organisation recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for adults. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this adds up if you make an effort to go out every day.
Exercise helps to strengthen your heart and lungs, and can also help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It can also help manage weight gain and obesity, which is on the rise worldwide.
Many people find the mental benefits of exercise just as important as the physical ones. With 1 in a 4 people experiencing a mental health problem in their lives, the positive mental impact of getting moving shouldn’t be underestimated. It can improve mood, increase energy levels, and be a useful tool for managing stress.
Even getting out and about on a gentle walk can be a good change of scenery, and an opportunity to see another person. If you struggle with loneliness, or need someone to talk to, meeting a friend or family member for exercise can be a mood booster, as well as helping your physical fitness. The more casual setting can help bring about difficult conversations in a more natural way, rather than forcing everyone involved to sit down opposite each other.
Trying new exercise classes, or challenging yourself in a sport you already enjoy can also mean that you expand your mind and learn that you’re perhaps more capable than you think, which can improve self-esteem. If you’re nervous about trying new things, then take a friend, or go to a class in a new location – if you hate it, you never have to go back, and you won’t see the instructor around town.
To sum up
While on the surface it might feel like exercise is only good for helping you control your weight, it actually offers a far wider range of benefits. From helping your mental health to giving yourself a better chance of avoiding chronic health conditions, it’s clear that staying active is something that we should all be prioritising.