Regular exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy, but it also increases flexibility and mobility, brightens your mood and safeguards your health.
The good news is that you don’t need to join a gym and do any strenuous exercise to achieve better health; just walking, especially in the company of others, can achieve much of this for you.
A brisk 15-minute walk to the shops can help to keep you fit and active. Walking quickly, even for just a brief time, is good for your heart and helps to prevent disease.
As we get older our metabolism naturally slows down, making us more likely to put on weight.
Walking and exercise alone does little to burn up those extra calories, so if you’re looking to lose weight you will need to cut down on the calories you consume. The only way to lose weight is to use up more calories than you take in.
The number of people in the UK who are overweight or obese continues to rise.
A recent Health Survey for England showed that the following groups are overweight or obese:
- Men aged 65 to 74 (78%)
- Men aged 75 to 84 (80%)
- Women aged 65 to 84 (70%)
If you fall into one of these groups, it is important to contact your doctor to discuss a weight loss program. Dieting should be a gradual progress to avoid complications. Only in extreme circumstances is a ‘crash diet’ recommended and even then, only under strict supervision.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE HELPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING CANCER
According to the British Heart Foundation, 15% of men and nearly 10% of women die from coronary heart disease in the UK. However, people who exercise and are physically active are at lower risk.
High blood pressure is also a major key risk factor for a stroke, particularly for the over 65s.
According to Cancer Research UK, cancer causes more than 25% of all deaths in the UK. Exercise and general physical activity can help reduce your risk of developing some cancers, including breast, bowel and womb cancer.
Even mild exercise and a healthy diet reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There are just under 3.9 million people currently living with diabetes in the UK. The majority of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is more likely to be found in people who are overweight or obese.
WALKING CAN HELP STRENGTHEN BONES
Walking strengthens bones, helping to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which makes bones brittle and more likely to break.
According to the National Osteoporosis Society, 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50 will break a bone, largely due to osteoporosis.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
Walking and exercise improve your mood and mental wellbeing and can even help to relieve depression and reduce stress. It can also be a wonderful social activity when done in a group or with friends, thus tackling feelings of isolation or loneliness.
It is now thought that leading a generally healthy lifestyle and being physically active can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia.
It also leads to improved strength and flexibility and better sleep, and some studies suggest it may improve memory and slow mental decline.