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“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,”

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.

This is no snake oil. Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life.

People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It's essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.

It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have: •up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke •up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes •up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer •up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer •a 30% lower risk of early death •up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis •up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture

•a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults) •up to a 30% lower risk of depression •up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.

For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity.

One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.

If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.


What if instead of making mega-changes with the all-or-nothing approach to weight loss and good health, you resolve to tackle a few simple changes at a time?

Studies show that the health and weight loss habits that have the best chance of lasting are the ones that call for minor, doable changes.

Eat the rainbow: Fill your diet with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and naturally low fat dairy foods. When it comes to fruit and veg, different colours provide your body with the different nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy – it's not just greens that are good for you!

Keep Active: Exercise is an extremely important factor in staying healthy so try to be as active as you can.

Drink more water: Water is an essential part of your diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid empty calories from things such as fizzy drinks, energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Eat your calories don't drink them!

Sleep Well: Make sure you get enough sleep – it's an essential part of being healthy and directly affects how well we can learn, grow and act in life. While we're asleep, our bodies have that all-important time to repair.

Stop dieting: We need a balance of all the macro nutrients. Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to forgo your favourite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation.

Be the fittest version of YOU.

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