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Get Moving, Feel Better and Live Longer

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than old-fashioned exercise.

The merits of exercise from preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-esteem are hard to ignore. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

We were made to move. It is what our bodies were built for. Exercising will:

  • Help lower blood pressure
  • Increase levels of good HDL cholesterol
  • Cut heart attack, and diabetes risk
  • Reduce insulin needs if you have diabetes
  • Reduce colon cancer risk
  • Keep bones and joints strong
  • Control weight
  • Promote better sleep
  • Improve mood
  • Ease depression
  • Put the spark back into your sex life

The older you are, the more important exercising becomes. Your metabolic rate slows down and you need fewer calories to maintain your correct weight. Weight-bearing exercise is also needed to help prevent osteoporosis in aging bones.

You may find the threat of a future illness is not enough motivation to change your habits now. There can be many reasons for not taking up exercise, including:

  • Lack of time due to work or family commitments
  • Cost of equipment or gym membership
  • Lack of facilities nearby
  • Personal safety when exercising outdoors alone
  • Poor weather or nighttime lighting

However, there are ways to overcome all of these potential barriers and work exercise into your daily life. This could include getting off the bus to work one or two stops earlier than usual.

Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. "Think 'move' in small increments of time," recommends Nerys Purchon in her book The Essential Natural Health Bible. "It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym, or a 45-minute aerobic dance class. That's great when you're up to it. Meanwhile, move more."

Sixty minutes of physical activity every day is one of the "golden rules" for good health. That includes incidental activity (the calories we burn in our everyday activities) and planned exercise. To make a real difference, it must be regular and some of it needs to get the heart pumping.

Examples of everyday activities that count include:

  • Walking up stairs instead of using lifts
  • Walking up moving escalators
  • Walking instead of driving for short journeys
  • Doing the housework at double-time
  • DIY and gardening

Planned exercise doesn't mean a gym. The key is to find some activities you enjoy, and to do them regularly. Nerys Purchon gives some ideas in her book:

  • Aerobics, exercise classes, spin sessions
  • Dancing
  • Exercise bikes
  • Weight training is very important
  • Paddling, rowing, and kayaking
  • Swimming, surfing, and body surfing
  • Team sports like baseball and basketball
  • Tennis, squash, and other racket sports
  • Yoga, pilates, tai chi

And, whenever possible, stay standing instead of sitting. Even standing still will burn more calories than sitting on your butt!

Get moving today!

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