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So many different ways to be physically active

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In the fortnightly Get Active column, Fenland District Council physical activity co-ordinator Hettie West discusses the benefits of fitness...

Physical activity doesn’t have to mean running a marathon or training in the gym for hours, it is as simple as moving more and sitting less.

It can mean anything from walking the dog, doing jobs such as hoovering or gardening, to doing a 15-minute home-workout.

Running can be enjoyed with others or alone
Running can be enjoyed with others or alone

No matter what you choose to do to get up to 150 minutes of moderate
intensity activity per week as recommended by the NHS, you are bound to feel the mental benefits as well as the physical.

The benefits of physical activity are countless, but focusing on those that affect your mental wellbeing, better sleep is a good example.

Remaining as active as possible throughout the day is going to use up a lot of
energy, ensuring you are sufficiently tired at the end of the day, thereby improving your sleep quality.

Physical activity is also shown to release endorphins in the body which are known as ‘feel-good’ hormones: these improve mood, give you more energy, reduce stress and can actually relieve pain (NHS).

Furthermore, another chemical released due to physical activity is cortisol – which is a stress-relieving hormone which can also aid you to focus and concentrate more, and help you think more rationally during difficult times (MIND).

Self-esteem, reduced risk of depression and increased social wellbeing are all other factors significantly influenced by the execution of physical activity, helping you feel better about yourself, reduce low moods and form stronger social connections with new people and friends.

It is important, however, to remain self-aware when starting or partaking in physical activity – make sure you do it in a way that works for you (e.g, if you do not enjoy team-working, an individual form of exercise such as walking or jogging may be better for you), ensure you start gradually and build yourself up so as to avoid
injury or burnout, and make sure to avoid overtraining: physical activity should be executed in order to improve overall wellbeing – so it’s important to check in with yourself and make certain you are enjoying it.

If you find yourself not feeling 100%, getting into physical activity can be really difficult.

It’s important to be kind to yourself, not get frustrated, and remember it is okay to focus on other aspects of life until you feel up to it and try to find a balance that works for you.

If you are interested in starting some physical activity, feel free to visit www.fenland.gov.uk/activefenland to see our Autumn timetable, or email activefenlandbookings@fenland.gov.uk

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