Health tip of the week

Don’t aim too high: short, sharp bursts of ac­tiv­ity are per­fect

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Living With Alzheimers -

The kids are back at school and soon the days will get shorter, but while our in­stinct may be to hi­ber­nate in front of the TV, it’s im­por­tant to keep ex­er­cise pro­grammes go­ing. Reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity re­duces your risk of chronic dis­eases, such as coronary heart dis­ease, type 2 di­a­betes, stroke, cancer, os­teo­poro­sis and de­pres­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to the HSE’s new Get Ire­land Ac­tive ini­tia­tive, “if you want to feel bet­ter, have more en­ergy and maybe even live longer, then get up, get out and get ac­tive – it re­ally can trans­form your life.”

“Just one out of ev­ery three peo­ple in Ire­land is ac­tive on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” says a HSE spokes­woman. “Yet mak­ing ex­er­cise a part of ev­ery­day life is eas­ier than you think and doesn’t have to in­volve a gym or any equip­ment.

“It can be as sim­ple as a per­son tak­ing the stairs in­stead of the lift, get­ting off the bus a stop ear­lier and walk­ing the rest of the way, or wash­ing the car by hand in­stead of go­ing to the car wash.”

Dr Julie Brod­er­ick, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of phys­io­ther­apy at Trin­ity Col­lege, agrees. While guide­lines state that adults (18-64 years) should carry out five 30-minute ses­sions each week (or 150 min­utes in to­tal per week) of “mod­er­ate” aer­o­bic ex­er­cise, for those who don’t have much time, there are ways in which this can be achieved eas­ily.

“A com­bi­na­tion of aer­o­bic ex­er­cise such as brisk walk­ing, cy­cling or swim­ming would be fine – and this can be bro­ken into smaller bouts of ex­er­cise of no less than 10 min­utes,” she says. “Even do­ing a lit­tle com­pared to do­ing no ac­tiv­ity at all ben­e­fits your health, so any ac­tiv­ity you do is help­ful and, gen­er­ally, the more the bet­ter.”

The guide­lines are the same for peo­ple over 65 al­though it’s rec­om­mended to in­cor­po­rate mus­cle-strength­en­ing and bal­ance-train­ing into your rou­tine.

Health Tip of the Week is spon­sored by Pfizer as part of its Healthy Town ini­tia­tive. Ev­ery year Pfizer se­lects a town to take part in a unique ini­tia­tive aimed at show­ing you – no mat­ter what age you are, or in­deed, where you live – sim­ple steps to im­prove your health. irish­times.com/spon­sored/healthy-town

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