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EXERCISE AND YOUR HEALTH

I'm sure most people would agree that doing some exercise is a good thing. But why is it a good thing, and if I am to do some how much and what sort? Well, there are guidelines available on the NHS Choices website - go and search for health and fitness.

Although I regularly take part in exercise myself I was surprised and delighted to read about the possible improvements to my health I could expect by doing as little as 150 minutes of exercise per week.

Are you aware, for instance, that exercising regularly could lead to as much as a 50 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and up to a 30 per cent lower risk of dementia? But the opposite applies too. Not taking exercise and being sedentary can actually increase your risk of many chronic diseases.

So what exercise should I do? For adults the recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, and strength exercises on two or more days per week.

Moderate aerobic would be defined as exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, that allows you, while you participate, to talk but not sing. Vigorous exercise would be defined as exercise such as jogging, running or taking part in sport that causes you to breathe fast, and during which talking would be difficult. Strengthening exercise would be defined as lifting weights, and doing exercises with your own bodyweight such as push-ups or sit-ups, or yoga.

So please check out the resources via NHS Choices, there is lots of info and advice on this and other aspects of exercise and health.

And remember, something is better than nothing, start small and build up, make a start today, it's never too late.

By Dr Richard Tosh

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