Healthy Eating Week – Day 4

Day 4: Get Active

Why it's important to be active

Physical activity is beneficial because it can:

  • help to maintain energy balance;
  • improve heart health
  • Strengthen muscles and bones;
  • improve sleep, relieve stress and lift mood.

What counts as exercise

Adults are advised to do the following:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity a week;
  • plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.

 

Moderate intensity physical activity will make you feel warmer, breathe harder and make your heart beat faster (e.g. fast walking, cycling), but you should still be able to hold a conversation.

 

Vigorous intensity physical activity will make you feel warmer, breathe much harder and make your heart beat rapidly (e.g. running, high-intensity interval training), making it more difficult to hold a conversation.

 

Muscle strengthening activities should work all the major muscles and are usually done in repetitions or sets, such as lifting weights.

But this but that...

All too often I’m asked, “I’m too busy to take up a sport or join a gym, what can I do?”

There are many ways to build physical activity into even the busiest lives.

Small and simple changes (e.g. cycling or walking to work, carrying shopping home instead of driving or getting public transport and using the stairs instead of the lift) can have a positive impact on your health.

 

The other common question is “If I achieve the recommendations for physical activity, can I spend the rest of the week inactive?”

Not quite! Evidence suggests that too much sedentary behaviour (e.g. sitting to use the computer, watch TV, read or listen to music) is bad for health. So not only should you do aerobic activity and muscle strengthening exercises every week, you should also try to reduce the amount of time spent inactive.

Mix it up

Aim to walk 10,000 steps per day as part of your lifestyle NOT for exercise but for remaining active.

Getting up and walking every hour for 3-5 minutes will help you achieve this.

You should still aim to exercise for the recommended amounts described above.