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Getting Active in Nottinghamshire

Doing physical activity is vital for both physical and mental health. Whatever your age, size, shape or ethnicity, being active reduces your risk of developing a range of medical conditions and illnesses. It can also lower your stress levels and is great for improving your mood.

Benefits of being active

Exercise reduces your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. It can lower your risk by as much as 50%. It can also lower your risk of premature death by as much as 30%. The great thing about exercise is that it is free and its effects are immediate.

No matter how old you are, the scientific evidence speaks for itself – you can lead a happier and healthier life by being physically active.

What counts as exercise?

The recommendation for being healthy is to be active every single day in some way and to accumulate 150 minutes or more of physical activity throughout the week.

For a lot of people, making exercise a habit is key. For example, walking places or cycling places instead of driving. The more exercise you do, the more your health will improve.

If you want to improve your health, the activities you do must mean that you move quickly enough to cause your heart rate to quicken, your breathing to be faster and you to feel warmer. With these characteristics, exercise is called ‘moderate-intensity activity.’ At this level, you will be able to continue a conversation but you wouldn’t be able to sing.

Conversely, vigorous-intensity activities cause you to breath fast and hard and your heart rate will have risen significantly. You wouldn’t be able to say more than a handful of words without taking a breath. There is evidence to suggest that vigorous-intensity activities have benefits above and beyond moderate-intensity activities.

Getting active

If you are doing very little by way of exercise currently, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase how much you are doing.

Nottinghamshire has a vast array of ways to help you become and stay more active:

  • Active Nottinghamshire has a database that you can use to search for activities and sports clubs in your local area.
  • Nottinghamshire has a really great variety of outdoor activities like walking, cycling, horse riding and country parks
  • If you’re just starting out increasing your exercise, walking is something you can do a lot of in Nottinghamshire.

Walking in Nottinghamshire

This is the best way to get more active – simply because it is free and effective!

Brisk walking in Nottinghamshire can help you to burn excess calories, improve your heart health and build up your stamina. Walking can be done in small amounts too, whenever you have the time to spare.

Starting walking

All you need is comfortable shoes that give you good support. You could even walk to work in your work clothes but swap to a comfier pair of shoes for the commute.

If you’re planning on doing a long walk, it’s a good idea to take a bottle of water and some snacks. Weather dependent, a sun hat and some sunscreen might be necessary.

If you find you enjoy long walks, then you might want to invest in a good walking jacket and some decent walking shoes.

What is a good walking speed?

Walking briskly is faster than a stroll and you will cover around 3 miles in one hour. At this speed, you will be walking and able to talk but won’t be able to sing.

What if I am a complete beginner and very inactive?

If you are very inactive but you can walk, start increasing your distance and time very gradually. If you struggle with your joints, then swimming might be a better choice for you as it doesn’t put pressure on your joints. You are still able to work your muscles and have a physical workout.

If you happen to have a medical condition, you should ask your GP for advice before you begin exercising.

Keep up your motivation

The best way to stay motivated is to make exercise a habit. Include walking into your routine. For example, you could walk to work or walk for part of your journey to work by getting off the bus earlier or by parking further away. You could walk to the shops or use the stairs at work instead of taking the lift. If you have friends that like walking, try planning regular walks with them so that you motivate each other.

Join a walking group

Walking as a part of a group is a brilliant way to up your exercise and make friends at the same time. An organisation like the Ramblers have groups throughout Nottinghamshire. They accept members of all ages and backgrounds and you don’t need to worry about your current level of fitness.