Clothes feeling a little tight? Feeling tired and lacking energy? Get more active and feel better!

Doing some regular physical activity is one way to help burn some calories and lose those few extra pounds, boost your energy levels, help you get a good nights sleep and beat the  blues. Physical activity not only makes you feel better about yourself, it also has lots of health benefits. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and some types of cancer. It can also help you to control your weight and can help to ease anxiety and depression.

Ideally, adults should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on at least five days each week. Two of these sessions should be muscle strengthening and toning, such as pilates, yoga, swimming or lifting weights.

‘I haven’t done any exercise for years, where do I start?’

If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gradually. Try doing 10 minutes of physical activity to start and gradually build this up to 30 minutes. Exercising outdoors when possible such as taking a brisk walk or jogging. If it’s too cold or wet outside, maybe taking part in a class such as step, spinning, aerobics or a dance class can make exercise more fun and a social activity.

Normal daily activities that make you a bit out of breath and sweaty can also be included in your 30 minutes. So you can include walking up the stairs, gardening, DIY and energetic housework as part of your physical activity.

Muscle strengthening activities include pilates, yoga, lifting weights, swimming and other activities that use the major muscle groups. Walking uphill, climbing stairs, carrying shopping bags and digging the garden also count as muscle strengthening activities.

If you have a medical condition and are worried that physical activity might make it worse, speak to your pharmacist or GP.

It is never too late to start getting the benefits of physical activity and here are some top tips:

  • Start gradually! If you haven’t exercised for a while, try to do 10 minutes to start and gradually build this up over time
  • Brisk walking is a good activity to start; it’s free and doesn’t require any special clothing or equipment
  • It can be a bit difficult to get started, but keep trying as you will find a physical activity that becomes more enjoyable and easier each time
  • Try to include a variety of activities so you don’t get bored
  • Use everyday activities as part of your physical activity. Walk to the shops instead of driving, take the stairs in an office or shopping centre instead of the lift, get of the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way
  • Consider setting yourself a goal of completing a charity walk or run.

If you need more information about the benefits of exercise, speak to your one of our pharmacists.