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Lifestyle - Exercise

For a few people exercise is a part of their everyday life, but a brief survey of any roomful of medics demonstrates that most do not undertake regular exercise, despite the clear physical and mental benefits. Repeated studies have shown exercise reduces the risk of disease aross a broad number of systems and illnesses. Not only that it has a role in controlling weight, increasing libido, mood and sleep.

The mechanisms by which exercise improves health are multiple, in diabetes it contributes to improving insulin sensitivity, in cardiovascular disease it helps to preserve the endothelial integrity (The lining of the blood vessels), in inflammatory disease it reduces levels of harmful inflammatory proteins and in depression and anxiety it increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine that make us feel better.

But knowing where to start is often difficult. There are benefits to undertaking a mixture of both strengthening and cardiovascular (exercise that makes you short of breath) exercise. It is important to start gently and to take time to build a good base of fitness. Whilst exercise is not always easy it should not be painful, if it hurts to move the next day you are doing either too much or too hard, reduce the intensity! When increasing the amount of exercise do it slowly, don’t try and increase too fast. Don’t significantly increase intensity at the same time as increasing volume, doing so is one of the fastest ways to injury. If you are a lifelong athlete you will be able to do more from the outset than someone who has never exercised. If your just starting out, or your recovering from injury or illness five or ten minutes of exercise that makes you short of breath two or three times a week may give benefit. Remember even 5 minutes is much better than no minutes.

Always warm up and cool down by starting out gently and building intensity.

Between exercise and if you have increased the volume or intensity of exertion be sure to make sure you have enough rest and sleep to enable your body to recover and repeap the benefits of your exertion.

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