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Let’s get physical

With wellbeing in mind for Wellbeing@Work Festival  let’s consider what getting physical really means – and how we can best get going…

physical exercise

All shapes and sizes

Physical well-being is all about how we feel in our bodies and what our bodies can do. We all have our own ways of working out, but a mixture of the following will improve all round physical fitness – and add in a feel good factor too.

Cardiovascular endurance can…

  • Reduce risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes
  • Improve health issues g. high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing disorders, depression
  • Assist with weight loss
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Improve self esteem
  • Help you have more fun!

physical exerciseMuscle strength and endurance can…

  • Increase bone density
  • Reduce musculoskeletal injury
  • Reduce risk of broken bones
  • Reduce risk of arthritis
  • Increase metabolic rate to assist with weight loss
  • Improve physical appearance

Core stability and balance can…

  • Reduce back injury
  • Improve posture
  • Reduce falls
  • Improve movement precision by providing a stable base of support.
  • Improve balance

physical exercise

Flexibility can…

  • Prevent pain caused by stiffness
  • Limited movements can cause excessive ‘wear and tear’ on joints
  • Reduce arthritic changes
  • Gives access to other forms of exercise

Mind and body co-ordination can…

  • Reduce mental decline
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Improve mental well-being
  • Improve physical skill e.g. Sports, art, dancing

How to get physical from head to toe...

How to boost your cardiovascular fitness

Any activity that causes you to experience the following will boost your cardiovascular fitness: increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, skin redness and feeling warmer BUT you must be able to speak whilst doing the activity otherwise you may be working too hard.

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Day to day examples:

  • Choose to walk briskly rather than drive when ever possible. Park and walk is a great idea.
  • Choose the stairs
  • Bike rides
  • Dancing
  • Running ( you could start with ‘Couch to 5 km” running plan)
  • Swimming
  • Exercise with a friend

How to strengthen your muscles  and endurance

Strengthening programmes need to work specific muscle groups repetitively until they start to tremble; known as fatigue.

Strength is improved by working the muscles against high resistance with only 10 or less repetitions required to cause fatigue.

Endurance is improved by working the muscles against light resistance and increasing the number of repetitions before fatigue.

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Day to day examples:

  • Lifting weights eg.water bottles, tinned food or gym weights.
  • Work against body weight eg press ups, squats, lunges

How to improve your core stability and balance

Day to day balance exercises can be done whilst standing doing most activities e.g. waiting for kettle to boil, brushing your teeth, talking on the phone.

  • Stand on one leg and make yourself as tall as you can
  • Practice balancing on your toes and then heels
  • Stand toe to heel, keeping your feet in line

All the above exercises can be progressed by simultaneously doing something with your arms, especially overhead

Class exercises include:

  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Gym ball or Swiss ball

physical exercise

Boost your flexibility

The human body can often find itself reverting to postures that feel comfortable and require very little effort to maintain. Sometimes these postures are adopted for many hours of the day for example,  by driving or desk working. It is important to stretch out of these positions to prevent long term stiffness.

The areas of the body that commonly need stretching out are:

  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Front of shoulders
  • Lower back
  • Back of these thighs
  • Calf muscles

Simple stretches can be done at any time of the day but you can also opt to stretch as part of a formalised exercise routine e.g. Yoga, Pilates

Work on mind and body co-ordination

physical exerciseTo improve your mind and body co-ordination try the following…

  • Hand eye co-ordination exercises e.g. Bouncing a ball, racket sports
  • Lower limb co-ordination e.g. Line dancing, football
  • Whole body co-ordination e.g. Highly challenging balance exercises, singing and dancing