Oxford University has just released more good news on the benefits of exercise for our hearts. The link between exercise levels and reducing our risk of cardiovascular disease has been further strengthened with the release of a new study, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales. Exercise is seen as one of the most effective ways to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The study indicated that higher levels of exercise in participants resulted in lower levels of CVD, and also lower levels of co-morbidity factors. Those with low or no exercise participation had higher levels of smoking, higher BMI (obesity risk) and hypertension, all factors that exacerbate our risk.
Those committed to a regular exercise regime had the lowest levels of CVD and should encourage us all to increase our regular activity levels. The current WHO guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week for adults so we need to make sure we are reaching or exceeding these targets. That’s not a big demand for our time when there are 168 hours in our week and we need to exercise for just five of them! That is only 2.98 per cent of our week!
Time is one of the main reasons we don’t exercise regularly. But it’s about time we see that for what it really is, it is not a justifiable reason, but merely an EXCUSE. How many of us have time to be sick? Take the time to exercise or spend your time being sick, it’s up to you!
We can never take our health for granted, and exercise is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to make a positive change. It will impact our longevity and also the quality of life we enjoy. A sedentary lifestyle increases our risk of developing CVD and other life-threatening illnesses. But an active lifestyle increases our chance to enjoy good physical and mental health well into our senior years.
Here are my Top 5 tips for being more active:
- Plan and prepare. Schedule your exercise and have your gear ready to go so it fits into your day just like any other appointment.
- Start with small steps. Don’t decide you are going to run a marathon next month, focus on achievable goals and a regular commitment.
- Get strong. Adding strength training to your week has so many benefits for your physical, metabolic and mental health. A strong body supports a strong mind!
- Balance is key. Make sure you are getting the right nutrition and recovery to support your new exercise habits.
- Start today! Don’t wait for next week, as we usually wait for next Monday to start anything new, get moving NOW.
Most of all find something fun because that will keep you motivated. If you hate the gym forget about it, get out and find something new and interesting to challenge yourself. After all, exercise is great for your health, particularly your heart!