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So you want to unlock the secret to living longer, healthier, and happier? Believe it or not, being more active could help in all those areas.

Before we look at the super benefits of physical activity, let’s find out how much we should aim to move to qualify as “being active”.

How Much Should We Move?

There are two things you should note for physical activity: how much you move and how vigorously you move.

Ideally, we should aim for 10,000 steps a day, and 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week.

Beginners can start small, maybe with a 10-minute brisk walk around the HDB estate every evening, or by choosing the stairs over the escalator at the MRT station.

Both are good moderate-intensity activities to add to your daily routine if you’re just starting out.

Moderate and Vigorous

What’s moderate physical activity? It’s an activity that makes your heart beat slightly faster, and your breathing slightly harder, than normal — tai chi or brisk-walking, for example.

During the activity, you should have enough breath to talk but not sing.

Vigorous physical activity takes that to the next level. When doing a vigorous activity, your breathing rate quickens and you’ll find it hard to carry a conversation.

Some examples of vigorous activities would be running for the bus, jogging, Zumba, and playing football with your kakis.

The Fab Effects of Exercise

Now that you know how much activity to work towards, let’s check out what sweet benefits you stand to gain by moving more!

Kilo-killer

The more you move, the more calories and fat you burn. Together with a healthy, balanced diet, regular physical activity is an effective way to shed excess fat.

If you’re obese or overweight, losing those extra kilos will significantly reduce your risk for diabetes. As a bonus, it also gives you an excuse to hit your favourite malls for new clothes (nice!).

Keep the Doctor Away

Losing weight will reduce your diabetes risk, but did you know that the very act of being more active will also cut that risk?

Besides diabetes, regular exercise also keeps other chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke at bay.

And it’s not just chronic illnesses, either: exercise boosts your immune system, which means you’ll fall sick less often. You might just be the last office warrior standing come flu season.

Live Long and Prosper

Being physically active — regardless of your BMI — helps you live longer and healthier.

And since you fall sick less often and are at lower risk of chronic disease, you’ll also save on medical costs over the years. Talk about a sound retirement plan!

Happy Chemicals

Feeling down and sian? Lift your spirits in an instant by taking a brisk walk or jog around the HDB estate. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone that helps you combat the blues.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!