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The miracle medicine: Exercise

The miracle medicine: Exercise

Doctors are now prescribing exercise to their patients, much as they might prescribe a jar of pills or a miracle cream. The fact of the matter is that for most of our ailments, exercise really can be a miracle cure.

The more reliant we’ve become on a life of convenience, the lazier we’ve become as a nation.

But when you hear that exercise can cut the risk of serious diseases such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers by 50 per cent, and that it can help relieve some types of depression and back pain, then what’s stopping us?

As a general guide, toddlers old enough to walk should be active for at least three hours a day; young people aged between 5 and 18 should be doing at least one hour of physical activity every day ranging from moderate to vigorous intensity. They should also be doing strengthening exercise three times a week.

Adults need to be doing two-and-a-half hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, strengthening muscles for at two days a week. This also goes for those aged 65 and over.

Everyday activities such as shopping or cleaning don’t count towards your exercise quota as the idea is to raise your heartbeat above its normal level. Small changes can make big differences when it comes to fitting in your exercise.

Walk to the shops rather than taking the car. Take the stairs, not the lift. Limit the time babies are in their pushchairs, get them out on a play mat. And get to the gym, or out for a walk or run whenever you have the time.

The statistics don’t lie. Those who do regular exercise have up to a 35 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, up to a 50 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and colon cancer, an 83 per cent lower risk of osteoarthritis, and 68 per cent lower risk of hip fracture.

If exercise came in a bottle, let’s face it, we’d all be taking it.

the author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.

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