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The Health Benefits of Staying Active

Getting your daily dose of activity will do wonders for your health; and the best part? It only gets easier the more you do it!

You can’t catch a bus down the road to a healthier, happier body and mind; you’ve got to walk it, run it, cycle it or skip down it! The world looks different when you’re not looking at it through a car windscreen; the sky will seem bluer, the grass greener and your mood happier.

When you take those first steps to a more active lifestyle, you’re stepping into a world of positive improvements. Some of the first things you’ll notice are:

  • Improved mood – start to feel better and happier about yourself and the world around you
  • Increased energy – wake your body up and get the blood pumping to feel more alive than ever
  • Weight loss – those first few pounds fall off the fastest and will keep you motivated going forward
  • Toned body – as you continue your new active lifestyle, you’ll find muscles where you never had any before
  • De-stress – sweat away the stress and feel your body and mind start to relax

MODERN SEDENTARY LIFESTYLES

Modern technology has reduced our need to get up and move around. These days, people wake up and sit in their cars to drive to work. That’s followed by 8 hours of sitting in front of their computer, before they sit in their car again to drive home. The evening’s entertainment then consists of sitting in front of the television, ordering their weekly shop from the comfort of the sofa and then going to sleep, only to repeat the process the next day.

The problem with this modern sedentary lifestyle is that sitting or laying down for these extended periods of time is increasing our risk of a tonne of health issues, including:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Heart disease

While we sit down for a long period of time, our bodies start to shut down and the inactivity of our muscles makes them weaker. It’s not always easy to avoid sitting for long periods of time, but a proactive approach to exercise and movement will really make a huge difference.

HOW AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE WILL IMPROVE YOUR MIND, BODY AND SOUL

One of the hardest things to muster when you have an inactive lifestyle is the motivation to get up and get started; but once you do, your mind, body and soul will all be thanking you for it. One of the best things about improving your level of activity is that glowing feeling you get when you know you’ve pushed yourself to achieve something truly positive. But other than that warm, fuzzy feeling, there are lots of physical health benefits to an active lifestyle:

Decrease your risk of:

  • Heart disease and stroke by 35%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 50%
  • Colon cancer by 50%
  • Breast cancer by 20%
  • Osteoarthritis by 83%
  • Hip fracture by 68%
  • Early death by 30%

Add to that the improvement in your quality of sleep, weight loss and the strengthening/toning of your muscles as an extra incentive to get active and you can really see why an active lifestyle is so rewarding. But we’re not done yet! On top of all these fantastic physical health benefits, there are the mental health benefits too:

Decrease your risk of:

  • Depression by 30%
  • Dementia by 30%
  • Suffering from stress
  • Suffering from low self esteem

The endorphins that are released when you exercise will trigger a positive feeling which is sure to leave you with a smile on your face by the end of your session. You’re also going to see a rise in your energy levels as your body gets used to being more active, making you feel more alive!

Of course, when you have gone without an active lifestyle for so long, there is a chance you may already be suffering from some of the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle, making it even harder for you to motivate yourself to get started. However, once you do get started and you get over the first hurdle, then the next hurdle and then the next, you can guarantee that your motivation will increase, and your ability will improve. Exercise is the food your soul is craving, so what are you waiting for? Serve it up a big portion of exercise today!

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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