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Your physical health is an important part of your wellbeing. Most people know how exercise can benefit the mind and body but are not necessarily able to or want to take part in an exercise class or intense physical activity. But, even if you can’t do ‘Couch to 5k’, making sure you spend some time each day moving your body can help ease tension, and improve your mental and physical health.

In the video below, Cat Stuijt, a yoga instructor who has also delivered several Me Time movement sessions, explains how gentle movement like stretches can benefit you. She also gives some examples of exercises you can do each day in your home – even from sitting in a chair if you have more restricted mobility.

Before completing any exercise please see our health advisory at the bottom of this page.

 

NEAT - Non-Exercise Activity Therapy

Cat explains that non-exercise activity is significantly more important than our exercise habits when it comes not only to excess fat loss but also for health, vitality, avoiding diabetes and many other chronic diseases. It may enhance our energy levels, speed up our metabolism and even prolong our lives.

Let's look at six benefits of more movement:

 

MUSCLES: You have more than 600 muscles in your body that contribute to about 40% of your total body weight. By moving, you are strengthening your muscles, which improves stability, balance, and coordination. Don’t forget that stretching helps maintain your muscle health as well. 

 

BONES: Movement helps build more durable, denser bones. Bone-building activities like resistance training (weights), weight-bearing exercises (jogging, walking, hiking), and balance training (yoga) can support better bone density. This reduces the risk of and can control the deterioration of osteoporosis.

 

JOINTS: Yoga is all about body awareness, so you’re compelled to pay attention to each movement. By being aware of how you move, you can increase coordination and balance, be mindful of the positioning of your joints, and relax. Plus, yoga encourages flexibility and range of motion, which boosts joint flexibility and joint function.

 

BRAIN: Walking 30-40 minutes a day three times per week can help “regrow” the structures of the brain linked to cognitive decline in older adults. If you are working from home or tend to sit more often, make an effort to take walks. Even shorter walks can be helpful.

 

HEART: According to the British Heart Foundation, we can avoid around 10,000 fatal heart attacks each year if we keep fit. You do not have to do high-impact movement – the British Heart Foundation also advises that housework and gardening for example can help.

 

LUNGS: Keeping your heart rate up improves your cardiorespiratory endurance. Circuit training with a personal trainer or in a group fitness class is a solution but not for everyone. But again, you don’t have to perform a high-intensity movement. Instead, try Yoga or Qi Gong – it still gets your lungs going but at a more comfortable pace. 

 

Do what you enjoy!

The bottom line is, to help you improve your activity levels - do what you enjoy. Move more and avoid too much inactivity. Find something you love and commit to it daily - if you don't like it - you won't do it! If you enjoy walking - make time and allow it to happen. If yoga is of interest - give it a go.

You can find our latest Me Time movement sessions by clicking here and signing up for a free session.

 

When trying any new exercise please bear this advisory in mind:

Health Advisory

Any form of physical exercise or activity can sometimes cause irritation and pain if not practiced attentively and mindfully. For example, make sure you have a safe space around you (no obstacles), take breaks whenever you need to and do as little or as much of the activity as you choose.
Before you undertake any activity from the video or advice in these pages involving movement and physical activity you must be happy that you are currently physically and mentally able to undertake the activity. Do not attempt something you are uncomfortable with.
By undertaking activities from the video or these pages you take responsibility for your activities and your body. Carers UK or the video facilitator does not accept liability for any injuries caused. If you have any current medical conditions/injuries or are pregnant, you may wish to consult your doctor for specific advice before undertaking these activities.

 

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