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Physical Activity & Exercise
Written by Catherine Davis   

happinesssplash.jpgBeing physically active improves fitness, increases vitality, helps us to achieve and maintain an optimal body weight and offers numerous health benefits making for a better quality of life.

Physical activities can have positive mental effects too. Exercise stimulates the circulatory system releasing endorphins, the brain chemicals that make us feel good and help protect against stress, anxiety and depression. It also improves breathing, helping us to focus and think more clearly and creatively.

Department of Health guidelines recommend at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week. Basically, this means activity that will increase breathing, heart rate and bodily warmth.

Exercise that promotes aerobic fitness, balance, strength and coordination is particularly encouraged, but it doesn't have to be vigorous and you don't have to do it all at once.

Aim to incorporate appropriate physical activity into your daily routine. Walk or cycle to work, or get off the bus one stop earlier; use the stairs rather than the lift; go swimming in your lunch hour; turn domestic chores into a workout.

There is a range of tools and approaches you can use to help keep track of how much exercise you are getting. From simple pedometers that count steps, miles and calories to more advanced gadgets that can keep detailed logs and records of your progress.

And the benefits of being active are rarely purely physical. Taking up a sport or active hobby such as gardening or dancing means that exercise may also lead to a more sociable and outgoing lifestyle.

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