Physical Health and Exercise
This section of the website is focused on the importance of exercise and being active. Ensuring we are physically active is really important, it doesn’t just keep our bodies healthy it also helps us remain mentally healthy as well.
Simple free examples of exercise we can all do
How being physically healthy can affect our mental health and mood
Get started below.
Making sure we stay active and get enough exercise is hugely important to both our physical and mental health. The two are connected and by keeping a healthy body we can also ensure that we keep our minds healthy as well.
What counts as exercise?
Exercise doesn’t just mean sports or going to the gym, there are lots of things which count as exercise and they don’t all need to cost money.
Here are some facts about exercise:
All adults should do some type of physical activity every day
Any type of activity is good for you, doing something is always better than doing nothing
The more you do the better (as long as you are injury free and don’t have health conditions which make exercise risky, if in doubt talk to your doctor)
Even 10 minutes of exercise at a time shows benefits
People in the UK in charge of health services talk about two different types of exercise. These are called moderate and vigorous.
Moderate Exercise – This means things like walking quite fast, riding a bike or dancing. You can also think about it as things which will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.
Vigorous Exercise – This means things like jogging or running, riding a bike fast or uphill or playing sports. Makes you breathe hard and fast. If you're working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
The NHS advises that the ideal amount of exercise a week is 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (21 mins a day) or 75 of vigorous exercise (11 mins a day), or a mix.
They also say that strength and flexibility training should be undertaken at least twice a week. This means lifting weights or using resistance bands and stretching or doing yoga.
Doesn’t this all cost money? Do I need to join a gym?
The short answer is no you don’t have to spend money to be healthy and you don’t need to go to a gym. There are loads of ways to stay healthy and get exercise without spending money.
Here are some ways you can make sure you get enough exercise without having to spend money to get you started:
If you have a pair of trainers you can go out for a run/jog. A good way to start is by using the Couch to 5k app (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/) this is a programme for new runners that takes you from not running to being able to complete a 5k run in 9 weeks.
There are loads of free video exercise classes available online, a good place to start is by using the videos by Joe Wicks, a professional fitness trainer who is well known in the UK. You can watch his videos, follow along and it's free to access them. As an example start with his 20 min full body workout which doesn’t require any equipment, you can find his videos here - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ
If you will find running or vigorous exercise difficult because of health issues or injuries you could try Yoga. This can be easier to start if you have injuries or other issues and will still make a real contribution to your health and well-being. Like the exercise videos there are loads online that you can access for free, Yoga with Adriene is probably one of the largest resources, click here to get started - https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
So what's the benefit of doing Exercise and why should you?
Well, you’ll be healthier for one and far less likely to get ill, both now and when you get older.
Exercise has loads of great benefits for you, just some of them include:
Helps you stay at a healthy weight
Can help you sleep
Can make you feel that you have more energy
Helps your muscles and bones stay healthy
Can make it less likely that we will get ill
These all help us physically but don’t forget that exercise and staying active has huge benefits for our mental health, it has been found it can:
Help reduce stress
Help reduce anxiety and depression/low mood
Help improve self-esteem and confidence
All of this together means that exercising is going to improve things for you and make life easier
It can be hard to exercise, especially if we are feeling tired and it's the winter but remember you will always feel better for it afterward.
And remember the only workout you’ll regret is the one you didn’t do!
LET'S RECAP ON WHAT WE HAVE COVERED
EXERCISE IS REALLY IMPORTANT– We should all be exercising regularly, everyday if we can. Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult, just going for a walk counts.
IT CAN HELP US STAY PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY – You will feel healthier in your body and your mind if you exercise regularly. It can help with all sorts of problems and can really make a difference to our lives.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST MONEY – There are loads of free resources you can use which can help you stay healthy, just use the links below to access some examples.