Keeping an active lifestyle

Keeping active does not have to be about putting lots of time and money into the gym. There are lots of easy ways to build regular activity in to your day to help you maintain a healthy weight.

There are some guidelines available so you know how much activity you should be aiming for. For adults, the current NHS guidelines recommend:

  • At least 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking each week), or
  • At least 75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running or football), or
  • A combination of moderate and vigorous activity, and
  • Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (such as legs, arms, abdomen).

There are different guidelines for other age groups:

Making time to exercise

It may seem difficult to fit activity into a busy schedule, especially if you are looking after your family, your home and working at the same time. However, there are some easy things that you can do to try and be more active that can fit around your lifestyle:

Here are some more tips on fitting regular activity into your lifestyle:

  • don’t worry about fitting in all the exercise in one or two big sessions. You can split it down into smaller chunks of 10 or 20 minute chunks – the most important thing is to get your heart rate up!
  • get active as part of your daily activity, think about if you could walk rather than drive or take the stairs more often.
  • take up an active hobby (such as dancing or football) so you look forward to doing exercise
  • think about your week ahead and plan where you might be able to fit in time to exercise
  • find new ways to get active, such as different places to walk or a new class to try.

It is also important to be aware of if your child is overweight. It is common for overweight children to become overweight adults. Children who are a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, more confident and better able to learn. There are some things that you can do to help your child achieve a healthy weight:

  • being a good role model and maintaining your own weight in a healthy way
  • encouraging 60 minutes of physical activity a day
  • keep to the right portion sizes for children
  • eat healthy meals, drinks and snacks
  • encourage more sleep and limit the amount of time in front of screens.

Why is keeping active important?

Keeping active and eating a nutritious, balanced diet are the main ways to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is one of the main health issues facing the UK – we have the highest level of obesity in Western Europe -  1 in 4 British adults are classed as obese. In Bradford, statistics show that every 7 in 10 adults you know are will be classed as overweight or obese.  In Europe, it is estimated that being overweight or obese contributes to every 1 in 13 deaths*.

You might think that being overweight just has an impact on how you look, but it can also affect your quality of life and lead to issues such as low self-esteem and depression. Being overweight or obese can also lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, including:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • some types of cancer
  • stroke

Where can I go for more information and support?

There are lots of free online resources that can help you keep active:

Bradford Council has lots of information on their website about local sports and leisure facilitiesincluding personalised slimming groups such as Healthy4Life and Active Bradford. They have a mobile app that you can download to find your local leisure centre and fitness class timetables.

You can also be referred to the Bradford Encouraging Exercise in People (BEEP) programme by your GP or health professional. More details about BEEP are available on their website

You can also get involved in ParkRun Bradford, a weekly free, 5k timed run, every Saturday at 9am, Lister Park. You can join in no matter what your level – beginner or pro – all you need to do is register on the website before your first run.

*http://www.observatory.bradford.nhs.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/5.1.1%20Obesity%202014.pdf 

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