We all know by now how important it is to keep active for our physical and emotional health. Research has proven that physical activity 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%.
That's amazing, right? You'd pay a lot of money for a pill that did that. Yet one in four people still fail to achieve 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week.
How is that even possible to not achieve 30 minutes in a WHOLE week - that's seven days, 168 hours or 10,080 minutes. Surely, everyone can manage 30 in one week?
Inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability, and directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK. Basically, inactivity is now as dangerous as smoking. Now that is a scary thought.
As someone who exercises regularly, both for fun and as part of my job as a personal trainer, it is a no-brainer to me and is easy for me to achieve and also to ensure my family can meet these requirements too. However, take someone who has no knowledge (or interest) in exercise and it is a very different situation. And there lies the problem - exercise
Over the past few years, exercise has become one of those "dirty" words like fat, skinny, diet, working mum, stay-at-home mum and a million other words that I never know if I should use anymore! The media has placed so much focus on women's bodies with airbrushing, fat shaming, thin shaming, mum shaming that I feel that the word 'exercise' has so many negative connotations now that it can be really off-putting.
Barriers to health
So, when we have campaigns to get people exercising or get active, straight away barriers will go up and the chances of participation will go down.
Yes, I know that the government have set minimum guidelines of how many minutes per day/per week we all should be "getting active". However, for some people who currently do zero, this is like asking me (who exercises regularly) to run a marathon a week - it ain't going to happen!
Let's, for now, put the guidelines to one side, stop focussing on the 30 mins and just MOVE, even if only for five minutes because that will still be five minutes MORE than you were doing yesterday.
Everyone knows how to move and we can all move in different ways whether it be walking, running, dancing, gardening, house work, taking the dog for a walk, running after small children or even sex!
If we all just try and move a little more and get ourselves out of breath a little bit more then that is a HUGE step in the right direction. Find a "movement" you enjoy and do it as often as you can - this is exercise believe it or not, without even stepping foot in a gym, an exercise class or in front of a fitness DVD.
Let's face it, life is short and if there is something you can do, that you enjoy, that can make it just that little bit longer then why not give it a go? If you don't move it, you will without a doubt, lose it.