In this day and age when everything is instant we all want instant results but unfortunately we cannot suddenly get fit or even save up exercise.     It has to be worked at and planned for and completed at regular intervals throughout each week.

To be beneficial the exercise must meet certain criteria.   It should last for around 30 mins, it must be frequent aiming for MOST DAYS of the week, and the intensity should be hard enough to make you breathe slightly heavier.

It is known that a regular planned programme of exercise can help in the fight against many major health problems. Exercise can make a huge difference not just to the way you feel physically but can also help to reduce stress levels.

However we all need to start somewhere and it is very important to understand that we all start from different levels.  It is vital that when exercising you “listen to your body”, you are the best expert on you.  Slow down if its becoming too much, or if its something you could keep doing all day then you would need to make it slightly harder

For some a two mile walk at a slow, strolling pace would only be relaxing, merely increasing the oxygen to the brain, but for someone else this could represent a strenuous activity and form a valuable part of their weekly exercise programme.     That is why it is important to be honest with yourself about your current activity levels and to have a clear understanding of the amount and type of exercise that you need.

Exercise needs to be in addition to your normal everyday activities to be of benefit, it also has to be current and regular – once a week is not enough to give you the health and fitness benefits that can be gained from taking appropriate regular physical activity.

Using the FITT principals will give you a guide as to what you should be aiming for.

F =     Frequency – how many times per week are you doing it

I =     Intensity – it should be 60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate

T =    Type – what are you doing?

T =    Time – how long are you doing it for?

To gain health and fitness benefits then the Frequency needs to be most days of the week.

I for Intensity  – this can be judged by how it feels to you.  If it is hard work and you are unable to do it for long ie 20 – 30 minutes then it is too hard!! You should be able to talk, but be aware that your breathing rate and heart rate has risen and you will also be feeling warmer and may be perspiring.

T for Type – it needs to be cardiovascular, in other words continuous, not stopping and starting.

T for Time – after warming up it needs to be done for at least 20 minutes or more.

Current Government recommended guidelines from the Department of Health talk about five sessions of moderate activity for at least 30 minutes duration.

If you are unable to keep going for 30 minutes at the moment, then there is good news.  Current research has also shown that this minimum 30 minute session can be broken into smaller segments of 10 – 15 minutes and done through the day*  So in time, as you get fitter you will be able to gradually increase the amount of time that you spend being active.

When taking any physical activity, it is important that the body is prepared and warmed up first, and having done activity is allowed to slow down gradually.   Warm up should be for at least 15 minutes and the cool down for 10 minutes.

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* At least five a week DoH

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