Vitamin Expert
CLose up of woman on mountain bike

Keep your body moving: five reasons to stay active

It’s National Bike Week in the UK during June so it’s great to give a nod to the benefits of cycling.  But, whether you are a keen cyclist or not, more importantly, it’s a perfect time to be reminded of the many health benefits of staying active.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares the benefits of exercise for health and future longevity.

Exercise is great for the heart

If you want to keep your heart beating loud and proud for many years to come, then it needs to be worked.  The heart is a muscle that enjoys being exercised, just like any other muscle.

It’s important to raise your heart rate a few times each week.  This means getting out of breath.  If you’re new to exercise, then start gently, but if you’re already active then try to change things up a little.  If you’ve never done high intensity interval training (HIIT), then why not give it a go? Research indicates that’s it’s very effective for improving fitness levels quickly, as well as helping to burn fat.  Indeed, it can turn your body into a fat-burning machine so that you actually keep burning even after the exercise has finished.

The heart needs to keep beating healthily to deliver our life blood, oxygen, around the body and essential nutrients within the blood, to organs. Exercise also helps reduce blood pressure.  Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, which equates to 30 minutes 5 times a week.

It’s essential for muscles and bones

When it comes to muscle and bone health the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ is very relevant. Indeed, the whole musculoskeletal system will become much less efficient without exercise.

Woman squatting with weights in her lounge to show working out at home

Keeping active maintains mobility and this becomes especially important as we age. Women can lose up to 30% of their bone mass post menopause if they don’t support them with exercise.  Essentially, this means doing some kind of resistance training, either with body weight, weights, or bands – all are effective. It’s about putting some stress onto the muscles and bones which will make them stronger and support you for a very long time to come!

It’s great for hormone balance

Just like all our body systems, our network of hormones works together. If one is out whack, this affects the others. However, exercise can really keep the equilibrium especially when it comes to blood sugar balance.  The body’s response to glucose and insulin will be much improved if the body is physically fit.

Older woman stretching and exercising outdoors

If levels are fluctuating throughout the day, then energy and mood will be badly affected.  And for women struggling with PMS or menopause symptoms, blood glucose balance can be transformational in terms of getting symptoms under control. And exercise is an important way of keeping blood sugar levels in balance.

It’s great for the mind

Mental wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing and they are, of course intrinsically linked. Anxiety, low mood, and lack of motivation can all be improved by taking regular exercise.  And it doesn’t matter what: just get moving!

Woman working out outdoors stretching by the sea

We know from plenty of research that the human psyche loves being out in nature – it’s how we evolved.  Therefore, taking regular walks in the great outdoors is one of the best all round exercises you can do for mind and body.  How often do we say we need to step outside to get some fresh air when the going gets tough?  Try to make it a regular part of your daily routine if possible.

It can help with weight management

There’s a famous saying: ‘You can’t out train a bad diet’. This means that you can’t exercise away the excess kilos without re-evaluating your diet too.If you’re looking to lose a few kilos, then burning off some additional calories with regular exercise is definitely going to help, alongside a well-balanced diet.

Close up of woman using hand weights

For the most effectiveness, keep your routine varied.  However, it’s important to include some weight bearing exercise which increases muscle growth.  The more muscle we have, the more metabolically active we are, therefore the more calories we burn at rest.

Cycling is a great form of exercise and ticks all the boxes above too!  But whatever activity you decide do, make sure it is something you enjoy so that you are motivated to keep on moving!



Add comment