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Exercise – the best gift this Christmas

It’s true – exercise is the best medicine there is.


It’s free, easy to do and has immediate effect.

Without doubt, no matter what your age exercise can help you to have a healthier and happier life. Here are 10 ways that exercise can help you:

  1. Control your weight. Exercise will help you to maintain your weight over time.  Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate which helps you to burn more calories.  If you are trying to lose weight you will need to adjust your diet and reduce the number of calories you are consuming.
  2. Reduce your risk of heart disease. Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease and can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
  3. Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
  4. Reduce your risk of some cancers. Research has shown that active people have a lower risk of colon and breast cancer than inactive people.
  5. Improve your mental health and mood. Exercise helps you keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp as you age and reduces your risk of anxiety and depression.  Exercise releases endorphins which produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
  6. Strengthen bones and muscles. Exercise slows the loss of bone density that comes with age.  If you have arthritis regular exercise helps to manage pain and do everyday tasks.  Muscle strengthening activities give you huge benefits, no matter what your age. You can’t go wrong with getting strong!
  7. Increase your chances of living longer. Making the lifestyle choice to include exercise in your daily life reduces your risk of dying early.
  8. Increases your energy levels. Exercise is a great energy booster.  This is true even for people with persistent fatigue or suffering serious illnesses.
  9. Helps relaxation and sleep quality
  10. Promotes a better sex life. Exercise boosts sexual desire, function and performance in both men and women.

How much exercise should you do?

The recommended dosage is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.  Ideally this should include two sessions a week that will strengthen your muscles.

What is moderate exercise?

Most importantly your exercise should be enjoyable.  You may choose walking, cycling, exercise classes, gym membership, boot camp – there are so many choices.  Moderate intensity exercise raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster and feel warmer.  As a guide, when exercising moderately you should still be able to talk but find it difficult to sing a song.

What if I am in pain?

Exercise is often the best medicine.  The health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt.  Start slowly and build up.  Seek advice from Shefford Osteopathic Clinic if you want guidance on exercising when you have pain.

There is lots of helpful information and advice to help you get started with exercise on the NHS Livewell website – Couch to 5K is an excellent running programme and there are lots of exercise videos for you to use at home.  Worried about starting exercise?  The osteopaths and sports therapist at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic are experts in helping people get moving again and enjoying the benefits of regular exercise.  Call us today on 01462 811006.

Christmas Tip…

Why not make exercise a part of your Christmas break?  Include regular exercise in your life to enjoy the amazing benefits for health and happiness next year.