Exercise – what’s in it for you?

Exercise – what’s in it for you?

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you, but do you know exactly how good it is? The fact is, no matter what stage in life you’re at, regular exercise delivers both physical and mental health benefits.

Specifically, it helps protect against heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, back pain and osteoporosis. At the same time, it enhances your mood and reduces stress levels.

How to make sure you’re getting all of those health perks? Ideally, you should do three different kinds of exercise.

  1. Cardiovascular exercise. Think walking, jogging, swimming, rowing and cycling – basically anything that makes you huff and puff. Try to do them moderately, so that you can still talk, for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or vigorously, so you can’t talk, for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. In addition, take and create opportunities to fit incidental activity into your daily routine. Find out how to start doing that, here.
  2. Resistance exercises. These build strong muscles and bones, maintain your metabolism and improve posture. Pump, circuit classes and exercises that use your own body weight, like push-ups, squats and lunges are all extremely beneficial. Choose eight, nine or 10 different resistance exercises, and for each, aim to do one, two or three sets, at least twice a week, where every set contains between eight and 12 repetitions.
  3. Flexibility exercises. Do these to help improve your range of motion, posture and mobility. Stretch as many muscles in your body as you can, and hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, to the point of mild discomfort, but no pain. Do this two or three days a week.