World Move for Health day is celebrated annually on 10 May.
In this time of COVID-19, we have become aware of what the term pandemic means. But are you aware that “inactivity" has also been described as a world-wide pandemic with wide reaching implications for health?
Regular physical activity reduces the risk of multiple medical conditions and also improves immunity if done sensibly. For example, don't exercise while you are sick but try to regularly do moderate intensity exercise. But how do you know that what you are doing is classified as moderate intensity exercise? The best way to check this is by using the 'Talk Test' - if you can talk while exercising but not sing then you are doing moderate intensity exercise. If you can sing perfectly, you are not working hard enough, and if you can only talk by saying a few words between breaths, then you are probably working too hard! If you have some way of monitoring your heart rate with a fitness watch or heart rate monitor, moderate intensity is when you are working at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
How much exercise is needed to ensure you are getting all the health benefits you need? A minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise (the type that keeps your heart rate up continually, like jogging or swimming) plus strength exercise for about 30 minutes twice a week.
You don't need equipment for the strength exercises; they can be just body weight exercises, such as lunges push-ups, and planks. It's a good idea to include core exercises into theses strength exercises.
For the cardiovascular exercise, choose whatever tickles your fancy, be it dancing in the kitchen to badminton on the lawn. Walking or, for the fitter, jogging. Create a track around your house or garden, even include some obstacles to keep it interesting.
Keep in mind that if you are starting up exercise for the first time to be kind to your body and work it up slowly. Also make sure to be safe and keep your social distancing during lock down.
Apart from intentional exercise, World Move for Health day is also about being less sedentary. Especially during lockdown, it's easy to spend the day in front of a laptop. How about switching to sitting on a ball so you can bounce around? Set an alarm that goes off every 25 minutes to make you stand up and walk somewhere. Use these quick breaks for your strength exercises, one type on each break. Stand when you phone a friend. Lunge to and from the kitchen. Your aim is to keep yourself moving and keep things interesting!
This year, World Move for Health day falls on Mother's day – how about challenging your mother to start exercise or virtually doing a work-out with her? It's the gift of health!
So start thinking ahead - what are you going to do on 10 May to get active and move for your health?