The results of the report could be seen by simply doing the following:
- 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 times a week
- The sessions can be split into 10 -15 minute blocks.
- The exercise should be of moderate intensity – enough to get a little sweat on and/or increase the heart rate and/or be a little out of breath.
- For children a minimum of 1 hour exercise should be done 5 times a week.
What did the report find?
The importance of exercise is seen when you look at the scale of the prevention of future ill-health. These results could be seen, simply by following the exercise requirements above. Here is what the report found:
- The chances of developing heart disease can be cut by over 40%.
- Exercising reduces the risk of getting High blood pressure by 52%.
- The risk of having a stroke can be reduced by 30%.
- Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by 50%.
- The risk of breast cancer can be reduced by as much as 25%.
- The risk of bowel cancer can be reduced by 45%.
- Depression could be reduced by 30%.
- The risk of developing dementia can be reduced by as much as 30%.
- Osteoarthritis can be reduced by 50% whilst Osteoporosis can be reduced by 40% and therefore major fractures by 50%.
These effects are better than most drugs. Exercise also helps in the treatment of many conditions. The report also found that a vast majority of people don’t do enough exercise. As I said, the report was based on UK statistics but I think it would be similar in NZ and many other countries. Here is what they found:
- Only 56% of adults in England reach the minimum level of exercise.
- Less than 1/3 of adults over 65 do the required level of exercise.
- 27% of UK adults do not even achieve 30 minutes of exercise in total over a week.
- Women report less time doing physical activity than men at all age groups by 10-60%.
What to make of this
I think the results of this report are pretty clear. If you do the required minimum level of exercise you will be functioning much better and your risk of future problems will be greatly diminished. So the moral of the story is to get out there and do some exercise. You don’t have to go out and join a gym. The exercise could be walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, group sports, sexual activity, even gardening. There are lots of easy options. It reminds me of a quote by Albert Einstein, “nothing happens until something moves”.
If you don’t do much exercise currently, then decide to make a change. Start slow and build it up, but most importantly, do something.
Of course, if there is a problem holding you back from exercising, have it assessed. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the benefits. Your body will thank you for it.
The full report can be downloaded here.