Did you know that if you are physically inactive that you increase your risk of heart disease by the same amount as if you smoked ? In the UK it is estimated that 70% of the adult population can be classed as physically inactive. In the US 60% of adults do not participate in the recommended level of physical activity & 25% are not active at all.
In Australia 33% of the population are said to be so inactive that they gain no health benefits at all & the risk to the community from their physical inactivity, and therefore lack of fitness, is great.
For thousands of years physical activity and your level of fitness have been linked to good health. Due to the advance of science in this day & age this link can be proven, with overwhelming evidence that people who lead active lifestyles are less likely to die early or to experience major illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes & colon cancer.
Fitness is therefore a major, if not the major, factor in the type of health you are likely to enjoy. Regular exercise will improve your level of fitness and improve the way you look and feel. In conjunction with a balanced diet regular activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can even increase self confidence and reduce the risk of depression.
In order to maintain ones fitness it is recommended that you should use up approx 200 calories per day for most days of the week. This equates to 30 minutes of exercise which can be all in one go or even in 3 10 minute stints.
Here are some suggestions to help maintain your fitness.
Walk up the stairs (even part of the way) instead of taking the elevator.
Walk up moving escalators.
For short journeys leave the car and walk.
Do the house work at twice the speed.
Try DIY such as painting or do some gardening such as raking the leaves.
Get off the bus or subway a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way.
Here are some benefits you will get from improved fitness through exercise.
Increased levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol.
Lower high blood pressure.
Help improve body composition by burning fat.
Promote healthy blood sugar levels.
Promote bone density.
Boost the immune system.
Improve mood and reduce the chance of depression.
Improving your level of fitness needn't be hard work, find some activity that you enjoy, maybe with your partner, family or friends. Stay motivated, keep a diary of your activities so you can look back and see how far you have come. Post inspirational quotes or stories at work or around the home. Set goals, both long and short term, rather than say you want to be fit for the summer, commit to going to the gym or aerobic class at least once a week.
Goals should be SMART
Picture where you want to be, maybe competing in a local fun run or race, get out an old pair of jeans or a dress that no longer fits & picture yourself wearing them/it.
Remember that exercise releases chemicals to the brain such as serotonin which has a great effect on your mood, helping to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. So even if you don't feel like exercising, remind yourself that you will feel better after.