Saturday, 23rd March 2024

Finding a suitable exercise

What exercise?

I spend a lot of words trying to persuade you of the importance of exercise for your future healthspan and lifespan. But I stay clear of recommending any particular form of exercise or physical activity (PA). I believe that it matters very little what you do – the main determinates of benefit are how hard you do it,  how long you go on doing it and how often you do it.

Daily activity

The object must be to make PA a part of your life. This can be done by ensuring that normal activities like travelling to work involve exercise – walking or cycling where possible in place of car, bus and train. Always take the stairs, not the lift. If exercise cannot be built into normal  work  it can become become a part of social and leisure pursuits. But you do need to find some activity which you enjoy or it will soon cease to be leisure and become a chore.

What else?

There is a vast number of activities which involve some physical effort – don’t forget housework and gardening or just going upstairs a few times a day (I never liked stair lifts!). However, unless you are very active you would benefit from adding a recreational PA – something which you can make a aspect of your leisure pursuits – something which makes you move about and makes you short of breathe. The crucial feature of such PA is that you enjoy it – otherwise you are very unlikely to keep it up.

It is not always easy to find an enjoyable activity but the choice out there is very large. Last month I mentioned the “Active Alton” project and this should be interesting to those who live in North Hampshire. Set up in 2019 the object was to identify all the local sports clubs and exercise venues in the GU34 area and then publicise them for the information of the public. It took some hard work to find all the appropriate information but by early 2020 we had achieved it. The first step was to create a webpage  on the Alton Town Council website and then to produce a booklet for those who do not have ready access to the internet. We planned to launch the initiative in April 2020 – Doh! The pandemic thwarted us.

However we were able to publish the listing on the ATC website later that year – and it is still there. If you live in or near Alton go to

The following year we published the booklet which we have spread around the town – in doctor’s surgeries, the library, hospital out-patients, the Maltings, the Sports Centre and other places.

There are two sections

Specific exercises – the different Clubs etc, from archery to zumba, from dancing to walking football from golf to personal training

Different venues – there is an astonishing number of such venues, such as village halls, schools, gyms, fitness studios, etc. They host a range of activities including exercise classes, dancing, badminton, yoga, singing etc.

The hope is that such a large choice will allow most people to find a PA which they can enjoy and make a regular part of their lives.

Particular activities

Next time I will look at the effects of different sports and other activities.

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