When it comes to healthy living, the good news is that as soon as you begin regular physical activity you'll feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle immediately!
Evidence shows that active people have:
- a longer life
- less risk of developing many diseases
- greater well-being - the feel-good factor!
- less anxiety and depression
- less stress - physical activity helps people relax
- lower rates of smoking and substance misuse
- greater ability to function at work and home. This can also lead to greater independence in later life as active people are able to cope with daily tasks more easily
- improved sleep
- better maintenance of a healthy weight
- increased social opportunities - you meet more people and develop friends.
Here are some examples of what people say when they start to do more physical activity:
- "I sleep much better and have more energy" (Christine, 62, Grandmother)
- "I can cope better with life stresses- I feel more relaxed and less irritable" (Ian, 42, Sales Rep.)
- "I now walk to college instead of driving. I find I can think clearer and study better" (Alison, 27, Student)
- "I take my 2 daughters swimming. We combine physical activity with fun" (Jean, 35, Mother of 2)
- "Last year I suffered a few heart problems and I was encouraged to do more physical activity. I feel so much fitter and healthier now that I did before" (Kenny, 59, Retired)
- "There is a group of us at work who are all encouraging each other to enter the 5km walk. The support of everyone around me has helped to get me started on my walking program" (Linda, 51, Receptionist)
As you can see, healthy living provides a great many benefits, so there's no reason to put off that healthier lifestyle any longer. Getting physical activity into your daily routine, combined with healthy eating, is the best way to get those short and long term benefits into your life.
Check out some of additional ideas below to help you achieve this:
- If your trip is less than a mile or so, try walking - or walk some of the way if it's too far.
- You can start your active lifestyle gently, by walking part of the way, or taking the bus home.
- If you're thinking about cycling, try out your route at the weekend first.
- Work up to walking or cycling every day and see how much fitter you feel!