A new report from Public Health England has further confirmed what we’ve all known for years: exercise is absolutely crucial for good health.
According to the research, the Western world suffers from “the sitting disease.” Physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths in England. For those keeping score, that’s the same as smoking.
The more you exercise, the better… up to a point. A triathlete isn’t doing much more for their overall health than someone engaging in moderate exercise 4-5 times per week. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do as much as possible, but that this is effected by the 80/20 rule like nearly everything is. Getting off the couch and exercising 2-3 times a week will have the biggest impact.
So exactly how much should you do? And what? That depends on your age!
From an article in the Guardian:
Five to 18-year-olds
Developing bone strength is crucial for young people, as they reach their maximum bone density between the age of 18 and 20.
– Youngsters should be moderately or vigorously active for at least an hour a day, and on three days a week this should involve strengthening activities such as skipping, jumping, running and gymnastics
– Moderate aerobic activities could include walking, riding a scooter, skateboarding or cycling
– Vigorous activities include running, swimming, martial arts, rugby and dance
19 to 64-year-olds
The main focus in this age group is aerobic activity to reduce the risk of disease and premature death, and strength training to support “activities of daily living” such as carrying heavy shopping bags.
– The minimum recommended exercise length is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week (brisk walking, water aerobics, tennis doubles) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running, hockey, uphill cycling), or a mixture of both.
– Moderate or vigorous activity should be complemented with strength exercises at least twice a week, such as heavy gardening, lifting weights or yoga
– The more activity you do and the higher the intensity, the greater the benefit
Activities to improve balance, coordination and flexibility are extremely important for older adults so they are able to avoid falls and maintain a good quality of life.
– Older adults are also advised to exercise moderately for at least 150 minutes a week, or do 75 minutes’ vigorous activity
– Weight-bearing activities are more significant at this age so people are able, for example, to get out of a chair unaided and live independently
– There are no restrictions on the types of activities older people should do, and they should continue to do the exercise or sport they enjoy
Get outside! Go for a fast walk after dinner! Find a local park and chase your dog around! Do some push-ups! We know we need to exercise, but this study serves as yet another reminder of just how CRUCIAL it is in our lives and health!