Physical activity can play an important role in preventing and managing health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, mental health problems, musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. It also has a positive effect on wellbeing and mood, providing a sense of achievement or relaxation and release from daily stress.
Exercise referral schemes are popular and they may offer other benefits aside from physical activity, such as helping people to socialise, providing a means of getting involved with the community and providing affordable access to facilities.
We hear it time and time again, that regular exercise is good for us and it can contribute to helping us lose weight. If you are busy and have a long day sat at a computer or desk or have a sedentary lifestyle it’s never too late to start. You can start slowly and find ways to increase your physical activity. This in turn will help prevent or control many diseases and could help you live a little longer!
What are the health benefits of exercise?
Regular exercise and physical activity may
- Help you control your weight. Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat and drink must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat and drink.
- Reduce your risk of heart diseases. Exercise strengthens your heart and improves your circulation. The increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in your body. This helps lower your risk of heart diseases such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and heart attack. Regular exercise can also lower your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels. Exercise can lower your blood sugar level and help your insulin work better. This can cut down your risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And if you already have one of those diseases, exercise can help you to manage it.
- Help you quit smoking. Exercise may make it easier to quit smoking by reducing your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also help limit the weight you might gain when you stop smoking.
- Improve your mental health and mood. During exercise, your body releases chemicals that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This can help you deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.
- Help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. Exercise stimulates your body to release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles. Regular exercise can help kids and teens build strong bones. Later in life, it can also slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Doing muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength.
- Reduce your risk of some cancers, including colon, breast, uterine and lung cancer.
- Reduce your risk of falls. For older adults, research shows that doing balance and muscle-strengthening activities in addition to moderate-intensity aerobic activity can help reduce your risk of falling.
- Improve your sleep. Exercise can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Increase your chances of living longer. Studies show that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.
For more information on our Exercise Referral Scheme, speak to a member of Team SF.