Being active is a major part of looking after your cholesterol levels, keeping your heart healthy and preventing heart disease. It can:
- raise your HDL cholesterol levels – the good cholesterol which removes fat from your arteries
- lower your LDL cholesterol – the kind that gets laid down in your arteries
- help you to lose weight or stay a healthy weight
- lose fat from around your middle, which is important for heart health
- lower your blood pressure
- lower the risk of diabetes, and help control diabetes.
Exercise can improve your health in many other ways too. It can:
- lower the risk of some types of cancer
- keep your bones and muscles strong
- keep your joints flexible and improves balance
- prevent falls and injuries when you get older
- relieve stress
- make you feel more confident
- give your mood a boost.
It’s never too late to start
Be inspired by watching this video by Emma. She shows you gentle exercises which you can do at home. Many of them can be done from a chair so will be appropriate for you if you're not able to stand or need support when standing.
How to get more active
There are lots of ways to be active. You don’t have to use a gym or join the local football team if it’s not your cup of tea. Instead, see where you can fit extra bursts of activity into your day – make them part of your routine and form new healthy habits.
It can be more fun being active with others. Why not organise a regular walk or swim, or arrange a trip to the park or a nature ramble for family and friends?
Find things that you like doing so that you’re more likely to stick with it in the long term.
Whatever you decide to do it helps if it is something you enjoy or that fits easily into your daily regime. That way you are more likely to keep it up.
You can also visit NHS ONE YOU. They have lots of ideas and support for getting active, including a free app, ways to get fit for free at home, and Couch to 5K – a plan to take you from total beginner to running 5K in 9 weeks.