The benefits of staying active have substantial evidence. Busy people are known to be at a lower risk of diabetes, stroke, heart problems, dementia, some cancers and depression.

However, spending over ten hours a day staying sedentary risks obesity, pain, mental illnesses, and a long term lack of independence. Moderately physical activity makes a difference. Increasing heart rate and quickening breathing are all it takes. Moderate activities include fast walks, swimming or riding a bicycle.

Ideally, exercising includes aerobic as well as strength exercises. Stretching, flexibility, resistance training and endurance exercising are also important. And the good news is that activities can be enjoyable and low cost.

Tailoring a simple programme with a plan of action is the best approach. Choosing exercises that suit make it much more likely to achieve results. If cycling is too challenging for you, swimming is an alternative aerobic exercise that works equally well. Enjoy the benefits of increasing your heart rate. Deliver the oxygen and nutrients without too much physical impact.

Yoga and Pilates are popular options. Improving and maintaining flexibility provides muscle strength. Strengthening muscles can improve posture to reduce muscular pain. Include stretches and adapt the intensity to help avoid falls through solid bone mass and improved balance.

How safe is exercising?

Even moderate exercise might be challenging, but research shows that increased physical activity provides more gains than risks. Many medical conditions show improvement after a programme of exercise. The immune system, cardiovascular system, respiratory function, bone mass, gastrointestinal health, mental capacity, and many chronic conditions show improvement due to regular moderate exercise.

Those who are unwell or frail must exercise with a careful approach, seek proper instruction and the right medical guidance to stay safe and start to improve.

How important is mental exercise?

As we get older, age-related changes in the brain can start to hinder function. Physical activity helps maintain healthy brain function by increasing the brain’s oxygen to improve reaction and reasoning alongside exercise, healthy diets and good hydration.

Research shows that doing mental exercises is as important as physical exercise. Meaningful conversations are a tonic. Social interaction has a hugely positive effect on general wellbeing. Maintaining contact and conversation with others stimulates and encourages positive self-esteem.

If there are times when being alone is inevitable, reading books, listening to the radio and watching television can be active with quiz shows and play-along games and challenges. Playing games is a perfect opportunity for mental stimulus. Scrabble, crosswords, sudoku and trivia games all challenge memory.

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