What are the benefits of keeping fit?
Keeping fit has many benefits from improving your:
- health by reducing the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer.
- weight by helping you maintain or reach a healthy weight
- muscles around your joints which help support them
- energy levels letting you do more
- brain activity allowing you to concentrate better
- self-confidence as you look and feel better
- mood by reducing anxiety and depression
- lifespan compared to an inactive person
- sleep quality can be improved even if you have chronic insomnia.
Should I do anything before I start?
The older you are the more important it is to see your doctor before you start doing a lot of exercise, especially if you have any health conditions, weight issues or been inactive for over a year.
How do I start to keep fit?
It doesn't matter the important thing is you start. You may decide to:
- walk more
- start cycling again
- join a local leisure centre
- join a sports club
- go swimming
- go back to netball
- start playing tennis again
- or running.
For some more ideas see NHS choices' web page on exercise: getting started.
How much exercise do I need to do?
If you are over 18 you should aim for 150 minutes a week, this is recommended to reduce your risk of heart disease for more information see the British Heart Foundation web page on staying active.
What exercise can I do for free?
If you are worried about the cost of exercise, there are activities you can do for free such as long walks, jogging and cycling. There are various workouts available on the web that you can do on your own for a start see workouts on NHS choices web page on health and fitness.
How much will it cost me?
Costs vary depending on your age, whether you employed or unemployed and whether you pay as you go or have a membership. North Country Leisure's website has details of Leisure Card and Leisure Card PLUS cards.
What is a GP exercise referral?
An exercise referral, usually from your doctor, is when exercise programme if recommended to improve a particular health condition. Contact your own doctor in the first instance.