My passion in fitness has always been about running – which stemmed from a school residential trip. Each morning, one of the teachers went for an early morning run and she asked if some of us if would like to go along. I went with a group of girls having a giggle. I think I must have been about 13 years old. I ended up going each morning with the teacher and she suggested I joined the local club. I did join the local club, Bideford Blues AAC and that became a massive part of my life for the next 4 years until I was 18 years old and left North Devon for a GAP year and to complete my degree. I trained twice a week a competed most weekends in athletics events and cross country events. My coach, Andy, was a role model and would keep me focused.
Thanks to running, I was never a smoker, tempted to take part in the drug scene. I did experience life and i liked to party and socialise and spend time with my friends. This is what I want for my children. My parents kept me involved in a healthy activity where I needed to stay healthy and be aware of what I was doing to my body (though at the time, I never thought of it like this). Getting hooked on running, probably kept me on the straight and narrow throughout my teena
When I was 18years old, I went to New Zealand for a GAP year which was an amazing experience. It was in this year, I was not running as much, enjoying the freedom away from training and competitions – I put on a lot of weight through eating lots and being sedentary. This was when I realised how important exercise was and how hard it is to maintain a fitness regime without the structure of a club. From then on, I was always looking for the next thing to get hooked on to to stay fit and healthy.
My most recent ‘getting hooked’ was training for and completing the Brighton Marathon 2012. Currently, I am enjoying ‘hitting’ the gym with my husband and not having any specific event but enjoying fitness. ‘Getting hooked’ is different for everyone, fitness is for everyone and the benefits of fitness are endless …here are a few…
Controlled weight / weight loss
The ability to carry out everyday activities
Strong, healthy muscles
HEALTHY STRONG HEART
Boost of mood
Social activities or time out for yourself
Here is an excerpt from the NHS website :
“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”
Dr Nick Cavill
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
a 30% lower risk of early death
up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
up to a 30% lower risk of depression
up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are:
riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
playing doubles tennis
pushing a lawn mower
Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your 150 minutes. This is because the effort needed to do them isn’t hard enough to get your heart rate up.
A modern problem
People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.
Recommended physical activity levels
Children under 5 should do 180 minutes every day.
Young people (5-18) should do 60 minutes every day.
Adults (19-64) should do 150 minutes every week.
Older adults (65 and over) should do 150 minutes every week.
We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.
Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health. Spending hours sitting down watching TV or playing computer games is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.
Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music.
“Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives,” says Dr Cavill.
Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies to encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behaviour.
“This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our day,” says Dr Cavill.
Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down. For tips on building physical activity and exercise into your day whatever your age, read Get active your way.