Exercise is really important to our physical and mental wellbeing, but it doesn’t have to be complex or overly time consuming. We don’t need to spend an hour or two a day in the gym, or burning up the pavements with our running shoes on. Neither should it be a trudge.
It should keep us mobile. As a chiropractor I like to see the joints working properly, moving freely and with stability.
It should be a little taxing for us. The muscles need a little resistance to give them a workout and help them stabilise the joints. There is also that little muscle in the chest that could do with a decent workout now and then.
It should be enjoyable. There are times when it’s cold and wet that I don’t want to run or swim and it would be easy to make the excuse not to do the exercise, but when I do it I feel great and generally I do enjoy it. (If exercise was weather dependant in Lancashire and Yorkshire we would never do anything.) Choose forms of exercise that you will enjoy and have the facility to do.
It should be safe. Exercise novices need to build up slowly. You can’t do the same that you used to when you were 18, well not straight away, and you shouldn’t try to. The same is true after injury or illness. Be sensible in returning to your pre-injury level. Taking an extra week or four to get back to ‘fitness’ can save months of frustration and injury.
Walk, swim, run, cycle, gym, Zumba, yoga, pilates, football and so on can all be great if done correctly. Mix it up a little. If walking the dog is your exercise then find some hills or steps, or change the pace from an amble to brisk to stroll and so on. Consistency is the key. 20-30 minutes each day can make a massive difference in how you feel. But remember if you get any sharp pains, persistent strange sensations or feel unwell after exercise contact a healthcare professional.