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Fitness and exercise

Boost your health and energy by getting plenty of exercise


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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You don’t need us to remind you that exercise and a healthy diet are going to help raise your fitness levels. However, that’s not the only reason to break into a sweat – here are some other important benefits of exercise and getting into that regular routine:

  • Exercise is great for relieving stress AND boosts your overall mental health. Excercise releases chemicals called endorphins in the brain that are great for boosting your mood.
  • If you exercise regularly you have more energy to get through the day.
  • It  can also help if you have problems sleeping.
  • Your muscles and bones will become healthy and strong. 
  • Your self esteem and confidence can increase and it can help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Taking up a sport is an excellent way to meet new people and have a social life that isn't just based in the pub!
  • Overall health – staying fit helps lower the risk of getting a whole range of health problems such as heart disease, adult-onset diabetes, stroke, thrombosis, breast cancer and lots more.

What type of exercise should I do?

Physical activity can be anything as long as you are moving! Choose an activity you like and something that will keep your interest for a while or choose a variety of favourite activities to do throughout the week. Check out our article on getting fit without breaking the bank. You can also check out Have Fun Get Fit campaign which has loads of ideas for alternative ways such as trampoling and ultimate frisbee to get fit.

There are three types of activity

Aerobic  This includes walking, running, playing team sports (football, basketball, rugby, etc), swimming. Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate, raises your body temperature therefore making you sweat a little, and increases your rate of breathing. This type of physical activity improves your over all fitness, is best for heart health and weight loss.

Strengthening  This mainly involves weight lifting but also includes things like carrying shopping or school bags, . Weight lifting can help you tone your muscle, lose weight, and build up your muscles. This will help you carry out everyday activities for longer without getting tired, improve the shape of your body and muscles, make your bones and muscles stronger and prevent injury. Some great ways to gain strength are bodyweight exercises, calisthenics and pilates. Remember you should be over 16 before lifting weights.

Flexibility  This includes stretching, yoga, and Tai Chi. Stretching maximises the benefits of weight training and aerobic exercise. It can prevent injuries and back pain in future years, increase the blood flow to your muscles and made them more efficient . Flexibility is important for preventing muscles becoming sore and injured, helping you carry out everyday activities more easily and improving posture. Why not try out some stretching exercises whilst taking a short breather from your studies or during the ads break of your favourite TV programme!

Remember, take it slowly! When you start an exercise programme, start off gently and set yourself short-term goals. Don't expect miracles and reward yourself for achieving your weekly goals. Take the time to make physical activity a priority in your life.If you don't look after yourself, who will?

Health risks of inactivity

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Adult-onset diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke

Even if you HATE sport there’s still plenty of exercise for you

  • Try to walk as much as possible. That means avoiding lifts and not taking the bus unless you’re going a long distance.
  • When you start exercising, don’t push yourself to exhaustion. The right amount of exercise should leave you breathless, but not purple and gasping!
  • Dance! Who doesn’t come off the dance floor looking sweaty and out of breath? (It helps if you’ve been snogging the life out of someone as well!)
  • Clean your house, not only will it smell better but you’ll get plenty of exercise while doing it.
  • You might think it’s only for parents and neighbours, but a bit of gardening or mowing the lawn is a fine way to get fresh air and exercise.
  • Next time you’re making a bet with someone, up the challenge: make a deal with your friends to all get fit together!
  • There’s usually loads of interesting classes going on at community centres, sports centres and swimming pools, visit them and see if anything takes your fancy.
  • Check out YouTube for exercise ideas and tips. Topics covered in YouTube vids range from weight lifting to yoga to salsa.
  • SpunOut went along to an Ultimate Frisbee training session, which is a great alternative way to get fit. Check it out below
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Published December 18th, 2012
Last updated February 16th, 2016
Tags exercise fitness have fun get fit
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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