We hear a lot about exercise and how good it is for us. And yes, I will be talking about how good exercise is for you but first – what is it? Walking, running, cycling, yoga, lifting weights and swimming are all good examples. You may have heard that that walking 10,000 steps a day is good for you. As a starting point anything that increases movement during the day is beneficial – there is a lot of evidence now that prolonged periods of sitting is really bad for you – but what makes something exercise versus general physical activity?

Exercise should challenge us – it should be harder than what we would normally do. If walking 20 minutes to the bus stop is what you normally do, then what would make this exercise is walking faster or further than normal. If you never walk, then walking 20 minutes to the bus stop would be exercise.

Exercise falls into two main categories – resistance and aerobic. Resistance training involves using some muscle strength eg dumbbells, therabands or your own body weight (eg squats). Aerobic activity increases your heart rate for a period of time eg jogging or swimming. A good exercise plan includes both types of exercise.

Why is exercise good for us? It increases our fitness, strength, reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, decreases our weight, increases both strength and flexibility, increases our energy, improves our chances of being healthy in older age, improves our happiness and that’s just some of the benefits – do you need more convincing?

If you aren’t sure where to start, try the NSW Government’s Get Healthy program – you can get up to 10 free sessions with an online health coach. Call 1300 806 258 today! See https://www.makehealthynormal.nsw.gov.au/ for more health tips and tricks.