Why Is Exercise Important?

As we get older and as our waistline broadens, our risk of getting Type 2 diabetes and other health-related diseases increases.

Some of us may even develop pre-diabetes — that’s when our blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Pre-diabetics are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease. The good news is that we can do something about it today — get active and make regular exercise part of your routine.

Related: “I Have No Motivation to Exercise!”

Physical Activity Is Not That Difficult

Doing at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week improves our heart health.

A moderately intense workout will cause your heart rate to beat at 64-75 percent of your maximum heart rate. As a general rule, you should be able to talk in short sentences, but not sing.

Moderately intense activities include jogging, brisk walking, swimming or cycling. Feel free to start off with some low-intensity activities like strolling, and gradually increase the pace over time.

You could begin with a simple 15-minute walk every day, or a 20-minute slow jog at least three times a week. When you feel more confident, slowly build it up to at least 150 - 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.

Please access this link and learn how to calculate your heart-rate range to identify your exercise intensity level.

Related: How to Start Exercising When You are in Pain

Why Is Exercise Good for You?

Regular Exercise Helps Manage Your Weight

Basketball misses the basket and the board says, ”guess it’s one of those days I catch no ball’

Regular physical activity helps our bodies burn calories. The more we exercise, the more calories we burn!

Along with a healthy and proper balanced diet, regular physical activity helps us maintain a healthy weight. Strength training promotes fat-burning and builds muscles. Higher muscle mass increases our resting metabolic rate, therefore increasing calories burnt. Aerobic activities also burn fats as one of the fuel sources. . We should aim to engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice per week.

Related: Types of Physical Activities

Physical Activity Keeps Your Heart, Lungs and Bones Healthy

Physical activity improves blood circulation through our heart and lungs. Regular aerobic activity lowers blood pressure, improving our heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Our heart muscles will also be strengthened and we might find ourselves with increased energy levels to do the things we enjoy.

Working on the major muscle groups in your body makes them stronger and more resilient. It also increases bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis.

Related: Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

Exercising Makes You Feel Great

Physical activity can also improve our mental wellbeing. When we exercise, our body releases "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins, which can uplift our moods.

Engaging in aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities can also help lower our risks of anxiety and depression.

It's Never Too Late to Reap the Benefits of Exercise

With just a few hours of physical activity a week, we will be able to

  • improve our moods to feel better,
  • reduce our chances of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and
  • enjoy a better quality of life.

Don’t miss out on the excellent health benefits that physical activity can bring you. If you are interested to find out more, do refer to the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines.

Related: What Is a Healthy Weight?

Which Physical Activity Is Good for Me?

You could start off with some light to moderate physical activity like walking, jogging, leisure cycling, and line dancing, swimming, rollerblading, cycling or playing recreational football.

If you are already exercising regularly, you could also try out more vigorous forms of physical activity such as swimming laps, running, or rock-climbing.

You can even join the Health Promotion Board’s MOVE IT workouts! It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get active and keep your heart pumping.

With so many activities available, you can choose how to exercise and not get bored. Select the type and intensity of physical activity to suit your interests and fitness level. Remember —  at least 150- to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for a healthier heart!

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

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:

  1. 1. WHO's Recommendations for Phyiscal Activity.' ( World Health Organisation (2010). Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. Retrieved June 2021 from https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/global-PA-recs-2010.pdf