Wellbeing HubPhysical health

Exercising the body as well as the mind can have great benefits. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by around 30%. Are you doing enough?

  • Sit less. Move more.

    As more people are working from home now, it’s easy to just sit at your desk and to reduce the amount of exercise you do. There are so many benefits to exercise:

    • It makes you happier and healthier;
    • You can prevent chronic illnesses;
    • It’s good for the immune system;
    • Exercise can help boost your self-esteem, mood and reduce stress;
    • You sleep better; and
    • It’s medically proven that people who take part in regular exercise have up to a 30% lower risk of depression and dementia. 
  • What counts as ‘good’ exercise?

    Everyone will have different abilities, and that’s ok. There’s several types of exercise to help you keep fit. You should aim for at least 150 minutes a week (or 30 minutes a day over five days). You could do any of the following:

    • Walk; 
    • Cycle;
    • Swim;
    • Run – take look at the NHS Couch to 5k
    • Climbing;
    • Lifting weights;
    • Attending gym classes;
    • Dancing; or 
    • Playing a sport such as tennis or football.

    The most important thing to remember is to only do what you’re comfortable with and if you feel any pain, you should stop immediately. If you’re unsure of what you’ll be able to do, talk to your GP or ask a friend. 

  • Maintaining a healthy diet

    As well as exercise that focuses on the outside of your body, have you given any thought to what you’re putting inside your body? That’s right – we’re talking about delicious food! Having a healthy diet can also contribute to good physical health and when combined with exercise, you’re onto a winner.

    Read our top tips to learn more:

    1. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables by getting your five a day (this can also help with your immune system);
    2. Cut down on saturated fats and sugars. Too much of these can lead to high cholesterol in the blood which can develop into heart disease. They tend to appear in foods such as: fatty cuts of meat, hard cheeses, cakes biscuits and pies.
    3. Reduce your salt intake to no more than 6g a day. This can cause high blood pressure and did you know that around three-quarters of the salt you eat is already contained in the food you buy?
    4. Drink plenty of water! The recommended daily intake should be around six to eight glasses a day. It might be worth carrying a bottle around that you can refill when you need it. Not only will this help keep you hydrated and your skin clear, you’ll be helping the environment but not buying plastic bottles. 
    5. Don’t forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a myth that skipping breakfast will help you lose weight. Enjoy some fruit or a bowl of wholegrain cereal. 
  • Don’t ignore symptoms – always check with your GP

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, many people have delayed getting medical treatment. It’s important not to ignore symptoms, whether they are COVID-related or not. NHS England have released several adverts to encourage members of the public to get themselves checked out. For example, there have been calls for people to come forward for life saving cancer checks to detect cancers in the abdominal area, urological cancers and lung cancer. A range of symptoms are featured such as prolonged discomfort in the tummy area or a persistent cough. 

    If in doubt – get it checked out!

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