Reduce Stress and Increase Energy

Move Well/Live Well

People who regularly exercise have better quality sleep. Many people nowadays regardless of their work status, have difficulty finding the time to start and sustain an active lifestyle. Here’s some of the benefits of taking exercise and a couple of tips on how and what to do.

On behalf on Irish Life Health.


For general health

Aim for minimum of 30 minutes every day of moderate exercise.

> This time can be accumulated throughout the day in short spurts – 10 minutes here or 10 minutes there or 10 minutes anywhere.

> Aim for a minimum of five days per week.

> Move at a moderate intensity to increase heart rate a little, sweat slightly and experience an increase in breathing.

> A good guideline for moderate exercise is if you can still hold a conversation without too much difficulty.

> Remember, 30 minutes is the minimum to aim for.

> If you prefer to monitor yourself via walking, then aim for 10,000 steps per day.

To become fit, lose weight or achieve another specific sports goal

> Train at your Individual Training Heart Rate or the Karvonan Method.

> You can google how to calculate this manually but it is easier to use a fitness monitor.


Different types of activity and benefits

Different exercises have different benefits. Here’s some top level tips to bear in mind when choosing what you want to achieve:


Activities to build up endurance levels include walking, golfing, gardening, cycling, skating, swimming, tennis and dancing.


Activities to increase flexibility include pilates, yoga, stretching, tai chi and bowling.


Activities to increase strength include walking uphill and lifting weights.

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise

These types of exercises have similar but different benefits:

> An aerobic workout such as jogging, a step class, a body pump class or circuit class will continue to increase your metabolic rate by 25% (i.e. burn calories) for up to 3 to 4 hours after work-out.

> An anaerobic exercise such as weight training will continue to increase your metabolic rate by 25% (i.e. burn calories) for up to 15 hours post exercise. A body with lean muscle requires more calories to maintain it than a body with no muscle. Therefore, in order to burn fat, it is advisable to do not just aerobic exercises, but also anaerobic.

> One of the common misconceptions regarding weight training is that its sole purpose is to build muscle. This is incorrect. Weight training can be more effective than aerobic exercise to burn calories, increase bone density (assisting in prevention of osteoporosis) and improve strength and endurance.

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> Technique is all important regardless of what exercise you do to achieve real benefits and minimise energy so get professional advice.

Warming up

Warming up is critical to prevent pulled muscles and prepare the body and mind.

> All warm ups should last approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

> Warm ups should always be low intensity and avoid raising arms above the head.

> Avoid stretching muscles in a stationary position as this may result in them being pulled.

Cooling down

Cooling down is key and one should not just abruptly finish exercise without it.

> Cool down for at least ten minutes.

> It reduces risk of cramps and avoids health complications.


Post cool down it is advisable to do stretching in order to further prevent cramps.

> It is a common misconception that stretching should be done before a work-out.

> It has been demonstrated that static stretching may result in muscles being pulled or torn.

> Therefore, confine your stretching to after workouts or ensure your muscles are warm.


Managing Your Fitness Routine

17 Whatever exercise you decide on, it is vital to make it a core part of your life, something you would really miss if you couldn’t do it (like brushing your teeth). Bear in mind the following guidelines:

> Too much too soon results in injury or giving up quickly.

> Beginners should change programme every 4 weeks.

> Intermediate should change every 3 weeks.

> Advanced should change every 2 weeks.

> If you don’t use it, you lose it – effects start fading after 3 days with weight routines.

> Give your body a day’s rest or at least do not use same muscles two days running.

> Listen to your body – if you are excessively tired or in pain stop!

> It is not advisable to exercise with flu or if you are unwell as there is a danger of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart tissue which can have serious consequences


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