Regular physical activity and exercise are critically important for the health and wellbeing of people of all ages. Research has demonstrated that virtually all individuals can benefit from regular physical activity, whether they participate in vigorous exercise or some type of moderate health-enhancing physical activity. Even among frail and very old adults, mobility and functioning can be improved through physical activity.
Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality from many chronic diseases. Millions of Britain’s suffer from chronic illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity:
Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, most adults and many children lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle and are not active enough to achieve these health benefits. A sedentary lifestyle is defined as engaging in no leisure-time physical activity (exercises, sports, physically active hobbies) in a two-week period.
The statistics (for the UK) show:
- Coronary heart disease, the main from of CVD, causes over 117,000 deaths a year in the UK: approximately one in five deaths in men and one in six deaths in women.
- There are currently over 2.3 million people with diabetes in the UK and there are up to another 750,000 people with diabetes who have the condition and don’t know it.
- Over 30,000 deaths a year are caused by obesity in England alone. A study by the National Audit Office in 2002 estimated the condition costs the NHS £500 million a year. The overall cost to the country is estimated at up to £7.4 billion a year.
- 60,000 hip fractures occur per year in the United Kingdom, Usually occurs following a fall
- Around 10 million people in the UK have high blood pressure – that’s one in five of us.
What can I do?
- Every adult near or past middle age should ‘know their numbers’- i.e. your height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You should also have a regular check up with a G.P.and if you are at risk from any of the named conditions, it will show up at the check up.
- Being at risk doesn’t mean you have the condition or will get any of the listed conditions, however with some basic changes in your lifestyle you can reduce the chances of these types of conditions developing.
- This way, treatment can be started before any complications arise.
Change your lifestyle:
- Stop smoking
- Lose some weight
- Exercise regularly, but realistic levels you can maintain and achieve
- Cut down on alcohol – drink more water(especially before drinking alcohol)
- Eat a varied diet – just sensible good quality food
- Reduce stress by trying different relaxation techniques, or by avoiding stressful situations
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