Exercise is the best medicine!

Get active to protect your mental and physical health

Health and wellness are – understandably – at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. Maybe your trying to cut down on your alcohol intake if you've noticed yourself reaching for a glass of wine a little more often in these crazy times. You may be determined to quit smoking for good. Both are great goals that can have a seriously positive effect on your health. Want to know another? Exercise.

Here are some compelling reasons why you should use activity to improve and protect your physical and mental wellbeing.

Exercise and health benefits

  • Up to 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • Up to 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • Up to 30% lower risk of depression
  • Up to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Up to 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease
  • Up to 30% lower risk of dementia
  • Up to 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • An improved immune system, essential for avoiding the severe symptoms of COVID-19

Exercise can reduce the risks

“As we learn more about COVID-19, the importance of immune and metabolic health in reducing our risk is becoming increasingly clear, pointing towards the central role of physical activity, alongside other lifestyle modifications, in reducing infection and severity of disease.

“It’s time we all take a close look at our activity levels and start to build more exercise into our daily lives.”

Olympian, sports scientist and Chair of the ukactive Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Greg Whyte OBE

Keeping active in the new normal

Pretty persuasive, no? According to government, to get these health benefits and more, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has made those targets harder for many of us. Since March, our ‘normal’ working day has been disrupted in various ways, from government mandates such as lockdown, self-isolation and quarantine, to employment factors like working from home or furlough. Not to mention sports facilities being closed for a large proportion of the time.  

Despite these obstacles, a recent survey by ukactive shows that more than half of the nation recognised the value of exercise enough to make it a priority during lockdown – 58% of respondents said they were able to manage their mental health and wellbeing through being active. We went for walks, jumped around to Joe Wicks and did online workouts in our living rooms!

Now that restrictions have been reduced, we can make the most of all the options available to us and take even more control of our activity levels again. Other than in small pockets of the country in lockdown, we can go out when we want, for a run, walk or cycle – or head over to the gym or leisure centre to work out there. At our centres many sports and activities like classes, swimming, badminton, squash and gymnastics (to name but a few) are up and running again, all in accordance with the guidelines to keep you socially distanced and safe while you take part. So, why not find out what’s going on at your centre?

If you're not already a member, you may be interested to know we have a great offer running, giving you massive savings. See your centre's homepage for more info and prices. We also have just launched an amazing update to our free Places Locker app, the ideal fitness partner whether you're working out in the centre, at home or outdoors. Find out more here