This week the UK’s Chief Medical Officers released a new report setting out guidelines for physical activity for all age groups, updating the earlier study carried out in 2011.
Evidence now demonstrates that there is no minimum amount of physical activity required to achieve some health benefits. The previous requirement for a 10-minute bout of activity is no longer valid and is no longer included in the new guidelines.
Hoped to be a catalyst for change in attitudes to physical activity, the guidelines re-iterates the fact that even small changes can make a big difference over time, such as using the stairs rather than taking the lift or getting off the bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way.
In particular, the report seeks to underline the importance of regular strength and balance activities, stating that being strong makes all movement easier and increases the ability to perform normal daily tasks.
In childhood, strengthening activities help to develop muscle strength and build healthy bones, while in adults and older adults they help to maintain strength and delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density which occurs from around 50 years of age.
One of the guidelines for adults (19-64 years old) is to develop or maintain muscle strength in the major muscle groups. Some of this can be gained through easily accessible activities such as heavy gardening or carrying heavy shopping.
The report suggests that muscle strengthening activities should be done at least two days a week but is keen to stress that any strengthening activity is better than none.
Personally, I had previously avoided weights orientated gyms, believing that I would be like a fish out of water, surrounded by stereotypical muscle-bound beauties, undertaking exercise routines that I could only dream of.
However, having recently ventured into such a gym, my uneducated perception has been proved completely wrong. You work at a rate that is comfortable, though challenging for you. No-one cares what you wear, how old you are and the more experienced attendees are fabulously encouraging.
The hardest bit was actually working in the door for the first time, but I am so glad I did, as after just a few months, I am definitely feeling the benefits of being a bit stronger.
There’s lots of really interesting points in the new guidelines and is an interesting read for everyone seeking to improve their health and mobility. So do take a look at the full report which can be downloaded here https://bit.ly/2lEWa3U
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