The Importance of Exercise

Exercise helps us to either lose or maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of certain diseases. Exercising regularly lowers a person's risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure to name but a few. Exercise can also help us age well.

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your organs and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

These are some of the benefits of regular exercise and having read the first two paragraphs you now feel motivated to start an exercise regime straight away? Yes you do, you are really enthusiastic and ready to start!! However feeling motivated after reading the positives of exercise and actually starting that "plan of action" is not all that easy. So why is this? Maybe it's because we are bombarded with impossible workouts all over social media, time consuming exercise plans, complicated diets, too many contradicting scientific facts, a plethora of gym classes to choose from. Yes it's all just too exhausting and that's only the initial reading without burning one calorie

Planning a Healthy Lifestyle

To accomplish a true balance in your daily life, you need to look at your work and family commitments, your social life, your exercise and your diet plan. They must all work together in harmony. The same way as planning a holiday with the flights, accommodation, transfers and sight seeing. When they all come together perfectly, it looks as though the holiday was designed especially for you. When something feels that good, whether it’s a perfect holiday, a job, a friendship or a healthy exercise and eating plan, it’s easy to commit to a plan, for the long term, without any hesitation.

When making any plan you have to take all aspects of life into account. To achieve the "best version of yourself" you have to be realistic. You need to look at all your commitments and free time to make sure this plan will work alongside these external factors. It's no good for either your health or well-being if you plan to go to the gym every day for at least an hour, compromising your hours of sleep to achieve this. Sometimes we focus on just one aspect of our health and neglect others, for example trying to over exercise to compensate for a bad diet. I truly believe in the "one step at a time" approach to achieve a good plan and make it a success. Address lots of the small areas of your daily life and make changes one day at a time.

Exercise Plan

The UK Government physical activity guidelines for adults :

"Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running); or even shorter durations of very vigorous intensity activity (such as sprinting or stair climbing); or a combination of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity."

Looking at the above information you can see that by adding just half an hour of brisk walking into your day, five times a week, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. This activity can be completed at any time of the day. Whether you walk to work or perhaps a brisk walk after your evening meal. Walking and cycling are just two of the many exercises that will improve your cardiovascular health. It's one of your most effective tools for strengthening the heart muscle, keeping your weight under control and warding off the artery damage from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Resistance Exercise

The UK Government guidelines for strength exercise

" Adults should do activities to develop or maintain strength in the major muscle groups. These could include heavy gardening, carrying heavy shopping, or resistance exercise. Muscle strengthening activities should be done at least two days a week, but any strengthening activity is better than none. "

Resistance exercise is important for your bone health. Weight bearing exercise increases bone density and will decrease your chances of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Loaded carries such as carrying heavy shopping bags will increase muscle strength and improve posture. Resistance or weight bearing activities should be included in your exercise plan twice a week if possible.

We should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary. Balancing your time means less sitting around watching TV or scrolling through social media. Instead make some of this time more active.


For a healthy balanced diet the National Food and Nutritional guidelines advise us of 8 healthy guidelines to support the UK Government "eatwell plate"

1. Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates (Bread, cereal, pasta, rice)
2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
3. Eat more fish
4. Cut down on saturated fats and sugar
5. Eat less salt - no more than 6g per day
6. Get active and try to maintain a healthy weight
7. Drink plenty of water (6 - 8) glasses a day
8. Don't skip breakfast

Back to the Plan

By just by changing a few simple things in your day to day life, could make a big impact on your health and well-being. Adding a half an hour brisk walk to your day, five times a week and adding weight bearing activities twice a week will improve both your cardio and bone health.

Look at your eating habits and make a plan to replace one bad habit with one good habit, once or twice a week. For example, drink a glass of water in the morning whilst waiting for your coffee to brew, or perhaps replace meat with fish once a week. This will lead to a healthier lifestyle taking you into your latter years.

Author's Bio: 

Catherine Ellis is a fitness instructor, personal trainer and founder of Healthy Forever Fitness Motivation
Her passion is fitness and well-being and her mission is to help everyone feel good at any age