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Find practical ways of being more active

Author: Dr Oli Maunsell - Medical Director

Aug 09, 2023

Fitting in more exercise is one of the commonest things men would like to change about themselves, but one which invariably carries one of the lowest success rates. Whilst most people know about the benefits activity can have on our physical and mental wellbeing, most of us are unaware of the opposite: the risks of being inactive. 

Physical inactivity is associated with 1 in 6 deaths in the UK, as well as significantly increasing the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression, and even most cancers (a sedentary lifestyle increases an individual's lifetime cancer risk by a staggering 20%). 

So what can you do help yourself? My simple advice is to set realistic goals that fit into your existing lifestyle. The World Health Organisation claims that 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week is enough to class yourself as 'active', and it might reassure you to know that all forms of physical activity count towards this total. These include walking the dog, doing household chores, mowing the lawn, going for a light jog, and even having sex. 

Take a look at your weekly calendar and agree small, marginal gains that you can realistically stick to. Get off one bus or tube stop early on your commute. Get up 30 minutes earlier to go for a walk, cycle or a run. Ask work if you can upgrade to a stand-up desk. Take stairs instead of lifts or escalators.

Of course certain chronic diseases or disabilities might mean achieving this total isn't possible for everyone, but just remember that doing some exercise is better than none, that these small choices will all add up, and that there's no better time to start than today!