Exercise to Reduce Health Risks

There are many different reasons that inspire people to exercise. It could be to lose weight, to get the body they have always desired or to improve their cardiovascular health. Whatever the reason may be, by exercising you are also reducing your health risks of many diseases and illnesses.

Did you know?

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the 5 major risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease refers to a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, often associated with lifestyle factors that lead to narrowing or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Exercise can help to reduce cardiovascular disease because it promotes weight loss as you burn through more calories. Research shows that exercise can help to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol. Exercise also increases “good” HDL cholesterol, encouraging blood pressure to drop down to healthier levels.

High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of a stroke. Therefore, improving your activity levels can reduce your blood pressure, chances of a stroke and generally improve your cardiovascular health.

The symptoms of diabetes can also be reduced by regular exercise. This is because exercise positively affects the way in which insulin is used to control glucose levels in the blood. Other health benefits associated with exercise include a reduced risk of certain cancers, osteoporosis, as well as improved mental health and self-esteem.

The type and amount of exercise you participate in makes a fundamental difference in reducing your health risks of so many ailments. Nevertheless, to get the most of out for your exercise regime you need to consider other lifestyle factors including good nutrition, smoking, stress levels etc.

Government recommendations for physical activity in adults includes:

• Participating in moderate intensity physical activity on a daily basis. This should equate to 2 ½ hours in a week. Activities including brisk walking or cycling; that increase your heart rate but you could still have a conversation while doing it.
• Alternatively, 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week has comparable health benefits. This involves activities like running and sports like swimming and football. Activities whereby you get out of breath and would find it hard to undergo a conversation.
• Adults should also exercise to improve muscle strength, twice a week. Exercises such as lifting weights or carrying bags of groceries.

The recommendations are just a guideline but give you something to work towards. In other words, avoid being sedentary for long periods of time and try to incorporate a number of different activities into your week.

This doesn’t necessary mean you have to be in a gym 5 days a week. Making realistic, long-term habit changes to your day will help e.g. cycling or walking to work, playing ball in the park with your children at the weekend.

I hope that reading about the health benefits of exercise has inspired you to make healthy lifestyle changes.