24th July 2021

The NHS can help put a spring in your step – get fit with Couch to 5K!

Health leaders in Somerset would like to encourage people to celebrate the beginning of spring by getting active and enjoying the great outdoors to help them keep fit.

If you have been sedentary this winter, the NHS Couch to 5k podcast is a great way to get started with a new exercise routine. The programme builds you up gradually to the point of being confident and comfortable with your ability to run a 5k!

The NHS has also launched the ‘Active 10’ app. The app is a walking tracker which takes away the guesswork. It shows how much brisk walking you’re doing and how you can do more. It’s easy to use and helps you set your goals for the day. A brisk daily walk is a great excuse to get outside and improve your health. You can start small and build up your time – you might be surprised how much you can do!

Regular exercise not only helps to keep you physically well, but it can also have a lot of benefit for your mental health, making it a great way to help you achieve a balanced and healthy life. 

Here are some of the benefits that regular exercise has been medically proven to have:

  • Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • A 30% lower risk of early death
  • Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.

GP Safety Lead at NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Andrew Tresidder said: “Exercise is a vital part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, so it’s important that everyone makes an effort to take part in regular physical activity as part of their normal routine. To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week, through a variety of different activities.

“For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more pro-active you are, the better, so visiting a gym, exercise class or planning to take part in an organised event are all great ways to help you get regular exercise.

“For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. If you’re working at a moderate intensity you should still be able to talk but you won’t be able to sing the words to a song.

“An activity where you have to work even harder is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.”

For more information on how you can achieve a healthy lifestyle, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well.

For more information on the Couch to 5k Podcast, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/

For more information about the NHS Active 10 app, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/active10/home