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Are you doing your exercise?

A collaborative worldwide study has come out showing that obesity increases the risk of dying from Covid-19 by nearly 50%. The comprehensive study also suggests a vaccine may not work as well for people who fall into this group. This is stark, painful, hard fact and is frightening. Its hard to hear as most of us don't look after our health in the way we know we should. The study was led by Prof Barry Popkin of the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina and he was shocked at the findings

Its a given these days that exercise is good for your emotional well-being as well as physical health, is proven to lower anxiety levels and help your brain to function optimally, improving memory, rationality and cognition (Exercise is Brain Food, Ploughman, 2008). The chemicals that your brain releases during exercise like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin help regulate your mood and decrease stress and anxiety. These, as well as endorphins, are the brain's natural "feel good" chemicals that everybody talks about which give you that temporary post exercise buzz or "runners high".

But knowing the benefits of exercise is one thing, making the time is another. Finding the motivation for exercise can feel like a battle and as much as many of us want to participate we get held back, overwhelmed, are time poor or just can't quite bring ourselves to begin. It feels like yet another thing we have to do on top of everything else.

The truth is, we tend to find the time for things if we want to and when we have to. Time is fluid, it expands and contracts depending on what you have to get done. If something is important enough, you will find the time. And you have reason to get exercising now more than ever, as getting yourself fitter and healthier can literally save your life. We know this, it is fact, backed by scientific data and research. If you suffer from cardiovascular disease or any condition that might make exercise risky for you, see your GP or Clinician for ideas on how you can get moving safely.

I find either end of the day can be a good time to fit in a bit of a workout. Wake up early and do it in the morning. Get it out of the way. Kick start your metabolism, get your body into fat burning mode and gift yourself with a dose of feel-good to start the day. If morning doesn't work for you, go for an evening run, ride your bike or grab a lunchtime online HIIT session. You don't even have to leave the house. Think about your activity levels in between workouts and fit some movement in wherever you can. Walk to the shop instead of driving, that kind of thing. It all adds up.

Consistency and frequency as opposed to duration is key, so rather than doing a one hour workout twice a week, try doing a 15 to 30 minute workout, 4 or 5 times a week. The time adds up, your fitness will increase and your body gets used to the feel good chemicals and hangs on to the buzz for longer, so the more you do it, the better you feel.

Our bodies were made to move. In the words of a famous brand: Just do it.

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