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Exercise

Description

What sort of exercise and how much?

Anything that makes your heart rate increase, gets you warm, mildly out of breath, and mildly sweaty. For example: brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, etc. You can even use normal activities. For example, fairly heavy housework or gardening can make you out of breath and sweaty. Consider a brisk walk to work, or to the shops, instead of using a car or bus. The activity does not have to be intense. (However, some evidence suggests that for preventing heart disease the more vigorous the activity, the better.)

The minimum to gain health benefits is probably 30 minutes in a day, at least five days per week. However, you do not have to do it all at once. For example, cycling each way to work for 15 minutes each way adds up to 30 minutes. Try to increase the amount to 40-60 minutes on most days if you can, especially if you are obese and aiming to lose weight.

Always check with your GP that the level of exercise planned is safe for you.

Are there any risks with exercise?

If you do some types of sports you risk suffering sprains, and sometimes more serious injuries. You can cut down the risk of injury by always warming up before sport, and by wearing the correct footwear. Endurance sports such as marathon running can cause stress fractures, fatigue, and menstrual periods to stop in some women.

Sudden death occasionally occurs in people who are doing some physical activity. This is rare if you are used to moderate physical activity. It is more likely to occur if you do not usually do much physical activity, but then do a sudden bout of vigorous activity such as an intense workout. However, even in this situation, sudden death is uncommon. The potential health gains from physical activity greatly outweigh the small risks involved.

Ask your Rowlands pharmacist for advice if you have any concerns.

Our Advice
  • It is never too late to start doing some physical activity for health, no matter how old or unfit you are. If you have a concern about a medical condition, see a doctor. However, there are few reasons why physical activity may be harmful. A common wrong belief is that physical activity may be "bad for the heart". On the contrary, physical activity is good for most people with heart disease. If you are unfit, it is best to gradually build up your level of activity.
  • Try and keep physical activity high on your list of priorities. If one kind of activity becomes boring, try switching to other types to maintain the health benefits.
  • Some people set their goals too high. For example, aiming for a marathon run. This may take too much time and you may lose enthusiasm.