Most people would associate regular exercise with playing a key role in preventing heart disease and keeping the heart fit and strong. However, would you associate exercise with cutting the risk of cancer? Most cancers are caused by lifestyle factors and not always genes, so for an overall healthy lifestyle we should all be taking part in at least 30 minutes exercise a day and not just changing our diet.
I have become more aware of my own personal health as I venture into the second half of being a 40 year old and I am conscious more now than ever of how much exercise I do on a daily basis. Regular physical activity can help maintain or improve your health, prevent or reduce the loss of muscle tone and increase your aerobic fitness. Exercise can also help to avoid or alleviate some side effects of cancer treatments such as fatigue and weight gain along with improvements to your mood and a reduction in anxiety and depression.
Women with high oestrogen levels in their blood have increased risk for breast cancer. Since exercise lowers blood oestrogen, it helps lower a woman’s breast-cancer risk. Even older women need to be concerned about oestrogen, because after menopause the hormone is produced by fat cells. Women who exercise have less fat and therefore produce less oestrogen.
According to national activity guidelines on the GOV.UK website, a good goal to achieve is to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, although to get the most benefit aim for about an hour a day. Moderate intensity activities such as brisk walking may be sufficient, although there is more benefit with increased intensity such as cycling and running. It’s always worth checking with your treating consultant or doctor that you are able to participate in these activities first.
Get up off the settee – it’s easier than you think!
A half hour of physical activity daily such as walking, slow swimming, leisurely bike riding or a round of golf will get you started. Here are some other ways to be more active:
- Use stairs rather than a lift or escalator.
- Walk around the block after dinner.
- Exercise at lunch with your work colleagues or family and friends.
- Participate in a regular dance class.
- Wear a pedometer every day and watch your daily steps increase.
- Join a sports team like crown green bowling or badminton
- Use a stationary bike or do sit-ups, leg lifts and push-ups while watching TV.
- Park a little farther from your office, the shops or the library for a nice walk.
- Vary your type of exercise so you won’t get bored or think it’s a chore.
Often people will view exercise as just a way to lose weight and change their appearance and yes these incentives can be effective. But exercise is really about a person taking charge of their own health, preventing chronic diseases like cancer and living longer. It’s never too late to start whether you are 18 or 68.
Walking is a great form of exercise and if you are considering booking an autumn break why not consider a walking holiday in the great British countryside. It’s no surprise that the UK is among the world’s most popular destinations. There are walking holidays to suit every traveller of every age and better still, Free Spirit can cover you even if you decide to stay close to home. Terms and conditions apply of course!
So what are you waiting for, get your boots on and stride towards to a new fitter future!