Guide to staying healthy - Exercise
One of the most important aspects in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the need to exercise. Exercise is as important as it enables you to maintain fitness levels and manage weight loss if this is desired. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly live longer and those that do no exercise whatsoever have a similar life expectancy to those that smoke. Exercise is as beneficial to your emotional health as your physical health as it releases 'feel good' hormones called endorphins.
Exercise is often categorised depending upon its intensity. Light exercise is an activity such as walking or gardening for example, in which you would still be able to maintain conversation whilst you were doing it. Moderate exercise might be an activity such as walking up a steep hill or 'power walking'. This level of exercise should leave you feeling a bit out of breathe but not unbearably tired. Vigorous exercise could be running, swimming or doing weights. This is much harder physically on your body and you will eventually find it hard to catch your breathe and may also feel that you are pushing your body to the limit physically.
While you should aim to be able to exercise vigorously eventually, it is sensible to start with either light or moderate exercise depending on your level of fitness already. Of course this is a personal thing as everyone's levels of fitness will vary naturally and what may only qualify as moderate exercise for one person may be very strenuous for another.
It is easy to assume that in order to get fit and exercise you need to join a gym. However, this is not the case and there are plenty of other activities that you can do to increase your fitness levels. Walking is an excellent activity being low impact (meaning that the strain on your joints and tendons will be reduced) and is a light cardiovascular exercise that will improve the condition of your heart and lungs. Of course it is also free and can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime! Running is another popular and free way of improving your fitness levels. It can be hard on joints however so it is important to wear good quality trainers and to take GP advice, particularly if you are overweight. Running should leave you breathless yet you should still be able to carry on a conversation while doing it. You should run for longer periods as you start to find it easier. Swimming is another excellent form of vigorous exercise. It is low impact, and provides cardiovascular and toning exercise due to the resistance of the water. It is one of the best ways to burn fat.