Exercise can be described as an activity which requires physical effort, carried out to sustain and/or improve health and fitness. Anything from walking, cycling, running, playing sport or going to the gym helps us to improve our health and fitness. There are various examples of exercise that people do on daily: dog-walking, hiking, running groups, playing sports, swimming, yoga, golf, gardening, dance and pilates to name a few. Exercise has been part of the society for centuries with the first record of exercise as a way of training to help increase strength, speed and endurance can be traced back to ancient Greece around 600 BC.
However, with the increase in technological advances we now exercise less and less. We live in a state of instant gratification. For example, easy access to next-day deliveries, to transport and fast food. It’s now easier to do things with a click of a button on our smartphones and laptops. Compare this to our health changes which take time, patience, consistency and commitment. Research has shown that many adults in the UK spend around 9 hours per week sitting, this includes watching tv, using a computer, reading and travelling by car. Other tasks around the house are far less demanding compared to previous generations. This has led to the majority of people having a sedentary lifestyle, also named by the Department of Health and Social Care as a “Silent Killer”. New evidence coming out that sedentary activities such as sitting down for long periods of time is bad for your health.
One of the big questions is always how often and for how long should I exercise for? How often should we exercise? And what type of exercise should we do? There are different guidelines based on your age. NHS Guidelines states:
· Children (Under 5)
o Babies (under 1): Should be active throughout the day, every day. Trying to include 30 mins of tummy time when awake
o Toddlers (Aged 1-2): Should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (3 hours) every day. Activities include moving around, rolling and playing, as well as skipping, hopping, running, using climbing frames, riding a bike and ball games.
o Pre-schoolers (aged 3 to 4): Should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (3 hours) every day. This should include at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity.
· Children and Young People (5 to 18): Average 60minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity per day throughout the week.
· Adults (19 to 64): Should aim to at least 150 of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week
· Elderly (65 and over): Aim to stay physically active every day, should aim to do 150 of moderate intensity exercise or 75minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. Focusing on improving strength, balance and flexibility.
Moderate exercise is a physical activity where the heart is raised, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. NHS says one way to tell if you are working at moderate intensity level is that you can still talk but not sing. Some of the exercises include walking, gardening, pilates and mowing the lawn.
Vigorous exercises will make you breathe hard and fast, at this level of intensity you will be able to say only few words before needing to stop to take a breath. Some of the exercise include running, sports like football, rugby and netball, as well as swimming, martial arts and lifting weights in the gym.
There are many benefits of exercise, both mental and physical that can be seen during and after your physical activity. Medically proven that people who regularly take part in physical activity. Helps to lower the risk of:
· Coronary heart disease and stroke
· Type 2 Diabetes
· Bowel cancer
· Breast cancer in women
· Early death
· Hip Fracture
· Falls (Among Older Adults)
Regular physical activity has been found to also help boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, in addition to reducing the likelihood of developing from stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
So how can we help at LEAR?
Our team is here to support you to help you reach your goals. We offer Mat pilates, reformer pilates and hybrid classes, all at different levels of difficulty. Prior to attending those classes, you will go through a guest tier assessment or health assessment for a member of our team to look through your movement and prescribe the class and level you should attend to ensure that you are working at the right level based on your movement and ability. As well as helping with other needs, we offer physiotherapy and sports therapy/rehabilitation, sports massages and 1:1 training for all your prehabilitation and rehabilitation needs.
Prehabilitation is a way of personalised risk assessment and exercise protocols to ensure you are working at the maximum potential while reducing the likelihood of unwanted injuries which can prevent you from exercising. Can be anything from mobility, strengthening or a conditioning programme .
· Mat is great for building those fundamental movement patterns, gaining an understanding of how to activate and mobilise different joints and muscle groups throughout your body. Mat Pilates builds through foundational movements up to more complex and challenging exercises to work your strength, stability and mobility.
· Reformer is similar to Mat Pilates in many ways, like how we activate and mobilise through movement. However, the added resistance introduces a bit more of a strength challenge and can also make a variety of exercises easier for injuries and stiff joints. Reformer Pilates is often considered more dynamic and intense than its mat work counterpart because most of the exercises are performed through greater ranges of motion and involve the resistance that is applied from the springs and bands.
· Hybrid is a gym-based class aimed at combining cardiovascular fitness, strength and mobility, drawing on our Health Partners’ knowledge of anatomy and physiology to provide a workout which challenges all fitness levels, in a safe and tailored way. Since these classes are a combination of functional movements and mobility, building strength and improving cardiovascular fitness, we will often prescribe these classes for clients who are looking to tick all those boxes.
· Hybrid Pro is a personalised gym-based, strength-enhancing programme taught in small groups by the Health Partners. If you are on our Clean Bill or Top Form monthly contracts, you have full access to this service. You begin with a 1:1 Test Session - an hour with one of the team to establish your current capabilities, tailored to your strength and fitness goals. Following this, your Health Partner will design a personalised programme to progress you towards your goals. This will be continually reviewed to ensure you smash those goals, getting stronger, fitter and more confident. The Hybrid Pro classes will be small group sessions, with each person following their own programme, under the instruction and supervision of the class teacher.
How to stay active at home:
1. Go for regular walks - go for regular walks, either outside, setting yourself a target of steps you want to achieve every hour, day, week or during your walk. Or flights of stairs inside the house. You can use timers and alarms throughout the day to remind you to move, certain sport watches have reminders that can be used as well
2. Cook – move whilst cooking and baking, if its stretching to reach top shelves, lunge across the kitchen to grab a spoon or squat whilst waiting for water to boil
3. Clean it up – Cleaning is a great activity, helps you to stay active and clean your house at the same time. Vacuuming your carpet is good for arms and rotational movement.
4. Dance like nobody is watching - around your living room, kitchen, bedroom or bathroom to your favourite song or playlist. Dancing gives you an endorphin boost which makes you feel happier and healthier.
5. Pilates – Pilates is a great to keep active during the day, you don’t need any fancy equipment. If you are on a contract with LEAR you have access to virtual mat classes for free from both sites.
6. Laundry – you can exercise whilst cleaning your clothes, when loading or unloading your washing machine, put the washing basket on top of the machine and squat down to put in/take out items from the washing machine. When done you can work on your single leg balance or your posture whilst sorting and folding your laundry.
7. Do some Gardening – whether you want to plant flowers or vegetables, working on your garden can help you stay active, digging and upkeep of your garden can make you sweat and your plants will grow!
8. Podcast or Audiobook – exercise whilst listening to a book, go for a walk whilst listening to your favourite podcast or audiobook
If you have been advised by your health partner to do specific exercises at home, use this to make mundane activities more interesting, such as calf raises whilst brushing your teeth, doing your pelvic floor exercises whilst washing the dishes or your breathing exercises whilst watching tv.
If you need any support in keeping active or want to know more about how our classes and training sessions can benefit you in your daily life, get in touch with any of our team. Whatever your passion, we can help strengthen you and improve your movement patterns to help improve your golf swing, running gait or walking endurance.