10 fit facts: Exercise – why bother?

Exercise has many benefits, and it’s never too late to get started.

Woman running on the beachWe all know the scenario: it’s cold, wet and dark and you’re too tired to go for a run. You’ll go tomorrow instead…does tomorrow ever come?

You’re busy, you’re tired, your favourite programme is on TV – there are often more reasons not to do exercise than there are to pop on your trainers and feel a bit of a burn.

Why exercise?

  • Exercise helps to prevent the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer, amongst other illnesses. It can also delay the onset and severity of dementia.
  • Exercise improves stamina by training your body to become more efficient. Your heart and breathing levels will return to normal much quicker after exertion as you become fitter.
  • Exercise strengthens and tones, developing muscles and helping with bone density. Your posture and flexibility will improve and your ability to carry out daily tasks will increase.
  • Exercise burns calories and will therefore help to maintain a healthy weight or to lose excess pounds.
  • Exercise improves quality of life – regular exercisers report feeling generally ‘better’. Those who start exercising often report improved sleep patterns and lifting of depression. The immediate post exercise endorphin levels help with this – but often the feeling of being in control can lift our mood.

Getting started

A pair of dumbbells It can be daunting to start exercising – but a good gym or a Personal Trainer will help you to work out what is right for you and help you to progress your fitness levels.

  • Aim for a mix of cardio vascular and resistance work
  • Make sure your GP is happy for you to exercise
  • Do something that raises your heart beat – how much and for how long depends on your current fitness level
  • Lift some weights! Yes, really. Don’t worry about becoming ‘muscly’ – when we lift weights our muscles tear a bit, repairing these tears takes calories (so when they are sore the next day, don’t fret – just think calorie burn!)
  • Hold yourself accountable for getting in some exercise for about half an hour, 5 or 6 times a week
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About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.