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Exercise - Time for a change?

The Department of Health recommends an average healthy adult under 65 should try to take at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, five times per week. For growing children it’s an hour or more a day.

‘Moderate exercise’ is classed as enough to raise your heart rate, break a sweat, but still be able to hold a conversation…

If you’re doing less than this - don’t panic!! Start introducing some more regular walks into your daily routine, try picking up your pace halfway through for a few minutes. Gradually increase your exercise levels in time and intensity by up to 10% a week. This will start to increase your fitness in terms of strength and endurance, while giving the body time to adapt to new stresses and strains without injury.

There has been some interesting research done recently on High Intensity Interval Training ( HIIT). This shows how short bursts of exercise at our maximum cardiovascular output levels can make great gains on fitness levels and burn fat stores more effectively. The concept involves a warm up at steady pace, followed by some pulses of high intensity, finishing with a short warm down. You could use an exercise bike, cross trainer or just go outside... These programmes are certainly very efficient on time! To read more, have a look at the work done by Martin Gibala and Jamie Timmons. Remember that one person’s brisk walk is another’s sprint in terms of maximum output, go at your own pace. Contact your GP if you are unsure as to your suitability for this type of exercise.

At a basic level we can look at burning energy just by sitting down less, eating less and being more active through each day. This has been researched by James Levine under the catchy term of Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) to explore different metabolic rates and how we can influence them.

Have a look at these web pages for useful information on healthy lifestyles and opportunities for exercise in your area for all ages and abilities:

Health Challenge Wales - Individuals

British Heart Foundation - Staying active

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