Physical activity - what do we mean by that? The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines it as any sort of movement, whether from a sporting activity or simple movement from place to place, such as walking to and from work.  Why is it so good for us, though?

Movement for good

Movement is a part of day to day life, whether it’s 15 lengths in a swimming pool or moving around the house whilst doing chores.  The excellent news is that whilst moderate and vigorous physical activity are known to benefit us, any and all movement counts.  It all contributes to an improvement and maintenance of our health, no matter what level of movement is available to us, anything that gets our hearts beating faster, helps. If you are a wheelchair user, or are restricted in your movement, taking exercise may be difficult and will depend on your personal situation. It's important to focus on what you are able to do and remember that any movement you do is good.

Research has shown that physical activity improves our cardiorespiratory fitness, by which we mean how well the heart, lungs and muscles work together when exercising. Bone and muscle strength also benefit, especially when we incorporate muscle strengthening activities such as weight lifting.  Keeping active reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers such as breast and colon cancer, and depression.  Being mobile helps us to avoid falls and fractures, things which, as we age, become increasingly important. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is another great benefit.  It’s not just about our physical health, though.  Regular activity contributes to our overall well being, including brain health (improved cognitive function), mental health, self esteem, quality of mood and even sleep.

How? Is it time to run an Ultramarathon?

Thankfully, for the majority of us, any movement is better than none, so we don’t all have to be competing in regular triathlons, unless we want to, of course!  A good way to start is small; tweak your daily routine to include activity where possible, think taking the stairs, rather than a lift, going for a 15 minute walk during your lunch break.  If you are likely to be sitting at your desk for the majority of your working day, set an alarm to go off once every hour and stand up for five minutes, walk around and stretch! You could even consider a standing desk, encouraging movement.

Trying out a variety of different activities is a fantastic way to expose yourself to something new and find the one that makes you love getting active, rather than dread it.  Many gyms and fitness centres offer trial sessions, private instructors often offer pay as you go options, or a reduced rate/free first class.  If you don’t like to try things on your own, why not get a friend involved? In today’s super connected world, it’s even possible to exercise very effectively at home, using streaming services or virtual classes.  Once you start looking, there is so much choice!

At Zeffr, we like to think that making small tweaks to our lives can bring forth big positive change, so why not take that first step?