The benefits of exercise for your life

Adding more movement and action to your life can make a dramatic difference to your well-being.

Here are some ideas for increasing physical activity into your life, without straining resources or causing harm. Walk to work. If you don't have to drive, walk to your workplace. This will do a lot to improve both your fitness and the quality of your life. Use your work time effectively, and you can even get fitter in the longer term. Wake up earlier. Get up at least an hour earlier. This sounds like a lot, and you may struggle to fit it in, but by starting with 10-15 minutes a day you'll soon find that you feel a lot happier and fitter. Take a brisk walk. Don't worry about the time taken -- five or 10 minutes will get you fit. If you're really not fit enough to walk briskly (as in more than 1mph), walk slower.

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Swim, if you have access to a pool. Have a go at jogging. If you're not too overweight and need a start, try short intervals -- say, a mile on an indoor treadmill, one-and-a-half miles on an outdoor track, or five miles on a regular running track. If you're more in the mood for a more gentle workout, go for a long walk outdoors or use a cross-trainer for some light physical fitness. If you need to increase the physical intensity, you can switch to a jump rope and take up jump rope training. Do ropeflow. It's very easy and fun, and an excellent exercise.

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Being physically fit has many benefits. For example, if you can lift more, it enables you to carry things more easily. If you can jump rope more comfortably, you're less likely to fall ill and you'll be less tired and more able to cope. On a more practical level, you will be more likely to be able to take part successfully in social events and enjoy the experience. So it's not surprising that having more movement is important. The importance of physical activity extends beyond the obvious health-enhancing effects.