Employee Wellbeing - Exercise

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This factsheet is aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and also offers guidance on how to get started. What is physical activity?

Physical activity is any activity that helps you to improve or maintain your physical fitness as well as your health in general. Activities could be as simple as doing the housework or walking to the shops.

Why exercise?

Regular physical activity has a number of benefits for your health such as:

  • Reduces the risk of developing of coronary heart disease and possibly stroke
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthens bones and reduces risk of osteoporosis
  • Lessens stress and anxiety
  • Maintains a healthy weight and reduces body fat
  • Increases muscles strength and joint flexibility

Overall, people who do the recommended levels of physical activity can reduce their risk of premature death by 20-30%.

Different types of exercise

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic activities are any activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder. This could include: dancing, walking, cycling, playing football, rugby, badminton or tennis, swimming, jogging or running, doing the garden or housework, taking the stairs instead of the lift. The government recommends at least 30 minutes per day on at least 5 days of the week. You do not have to do all 30 minutes at once it can be broken down into 3 x 10 minutes and will have the same benefits as long as your heart and lungs are working harder(increased heart rate).

Muscle-strengthening activities

Muscle strengthening activities help build or maintain muscles and help to improve your flexibility and balance. This could include: climbing stairs, walking uphill, lifting or carrying shopping, digging the garden, weight training, pilates, yoga or similar resistance exercises that use the major muscle groups. You should aim to do these activities twice a week in addition to your aerobic exercise and on alternate days.

Guidelines for starting an exercise programme

  • If you are new to physical activity or have not been active for along time it is advisable to speak to your GP before beginning a new programme
  • Start an activity you like doing and that can easily be built into your daily routine – this way you are more likely to succeed
  • If you don’t like the thought of exercising on your own make it a social affair and ask a friend along
  • Start slowly and gradually build up, if you feel you can do more then do so but don’t rush in
  • If you feel chest pain or shortness of breath, stop and rest for a while
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water

Take small steps

By following these simple steps and building activity into your daily life you will feel much healthier and save money in the process:

  • Walk to work (at least 1 day a week if possible)
  • Take your bike instead of the car
  • Get off the bus or train a stop earlier
  • Park the car further away from the office
  • Clean the windows instead of hiring a window cleaner
  • Start cleaning the car at home rather than going to the carwash

It is recommended you seek medical advice before starting any new exercise programme. For further information on increasing your physical activity please visit:

www.nhs.uk/change4lifewww.keepfit.org.ukwww.whi.org.uk

I hope you have found this fact sheet useful. For further information on work-based exercise   or any of the services offered by Midlands Workplace Wellbeing please call us now on: 01562 634926or email Renee@mwwellbeing.co.uk

This fact sheet has been adapted from the NHS website – www.patient.co.uk and is for information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Every care has been taken when compiling this information but we make no guarantee to its accuracy.

BlogRenee Clarke