A wealth of evidence shows that an active life is essential for health.
The single and most important contributor to achieving and maintaining optimal health is physical activity or exercise. The evidence relating to physical activity and its relationship to health is both strong and unequivocal. The importance of physical activity is generally undervalued and only more recently being recognised by those in public health and clinical medicine.
At the same time our life expectancy is ever increasing. But we are not doing everything we can to maintain wellbeing. Ageing itself does not bring poor function & frailty – people have stopped exercising and are no longer active.
Whilst at UNIQ Family Wealth our profession is Financial Planning, we also take a keen interest in healthy ageing. After all no amount of money can buy you good health. There’s overwhelming evidence that physical activity provides significant and wide-ranging health benefits including the eight listed below:
- Improved general health
- Improved functional capacity
- Reduced pressure inside the eye (intraocular).
- Improvements in cognitive brain function
- Improvements in memory
- Deceases cognitive decline
- Extending longevity
- Reduced risk of chronic disease such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
Exercise – where should you begin?
For a start you can forget the gentle walk and light stretch. After your mid 30s you lose 1-2% muscle mass per year. By 70 if you are sedentary you will have lost 25% muscle mass & bone mineral. Whilst in comparison there is evidence emerging that those in 60s, 70s & 80s who lift weights and daily do daily resistance exercise protect themselves, build muscle and prolong life. Those exercising into their 70s can be as fit as those in 50s. On top of that by exercising just once a week makes you 3 to 7 times more likely to be classed as a healthy ager with an improved quality of life.
So, what is the optimal dose exercise for health gains?
- Its widely accepted that 150 minutes per week is the ideal amount based on available data
- This should include strength sessions for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per week
- As a starting point even thirty-minute walks 3-4 times a week can offer substantial health improvement
- Group exercise also helps to boost mental health
- Just one hour per week aerobic exercise – reduces risk of dementia and improves our general mood
Whatever exercise you chose just starting will make a difference – go on, it’s time to make an investment in your health.