I read with interest that watching television is reducing our lifespan. Switch it off and we become fit? Or move across to the computer and our health improves? We live in a time of ‘quick fixes’ – we want it and we want it now.
But for most of us we are aware that long term lifestyle changes are required if we wish to improve our health. Also, if we make small changes we are more likely to maintain them. Research from Taiwan suggests that just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years and cut death risk by 14%. In the UK we recommend double this, however I think the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan and China Medical University Hospital have a valid point. Small changes such as 15 minutes a day will be seen as achievable to those doing very little or no exercise currently.
So, let’s not forget about the UK’s advice of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 days a week, but for those who are currently inactive or sedentary 15 minutes would be a good place to start. We also need to remember it is not all about going to the gym. A walk to the post box, digging in the garden, housework, dancing – activities which make us slightly out of breath are all good for our cardiovascular system.
Bank holiday Monday we will see the opening of a further section of the North Birmingham walking and cycling route – why not come down to Pype Hayes Park and get your 15 minutes of exercise? Or how about joining our new walking and running groups for absolute beginners starting in September?