The Importance of Being Physically Active: Strengthening Your Body and Mind
3 mins read

The Importance of Being Physically Active: Strengthening Your Body and Mind

Our health writer Jackie Mitchell on ways to keep active.

Strengthening Your Body and Mind: BEING physically active can strengthen bones and muscles, help with weight loss, reduce the risk of disease and improve sleep.

“I firmly believe regular exercise is the key to staying physically and mentally fit,” Penny Weston, a fitness, wellness and nutrition expert at, says.

“The body releases chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which boost our sense of wellbeing and suppress hormones that cause anxiety.”

It is important to include a variety of exercises in your routine, which will also keep exercising enjoyable.

“Consider what your goal is before choosing an exercise,” Penny says.

“If you want to lose weight, then aim for more cardio activity than strength building. If you are starting exercise to improve your overall health, then incorporate a mixture of aerobic activity and strength training.” Begin slowly and create a routine. “Often we are looking for an excuse not to do a workout, but if you know you’ve scheduled it, you can plan around it,” Penny explains.

Walking improves muscle endurance, increases energy levels and improves cardiovascular fitness.

“Increase the amount of steps you do each day and build up gradually.

“I like to make exercising a social activity, so I might ask a friend to come on a walk or run with me.

“Tennis works because it’s not only beneficial exercise, but you also spend time socialising,” Penny adds.

Resistance or weight training is vital as it helps to increase bone density.

Nick Mitchell, personal trainer at, recommends exercising at home.

“Research shows that training with weights not only increases muscle mass, but improves brain activities such as attention and memory.

“Exercises you can do include press ups, squats, lunges, sit ups, going up and down stairs, or doing housework.

“This is a great way to get moving and increase your daily step count.

“Invest in a good quality pair of adjustable dumbbells, or use carrier bags full of tins of beans or rocks from the garden to make your workouts more challenging,” he advises.

“Start your training at home. This will give you a good platform to lose weight, build strength and give you confidence to step inside a gym.”

Swimming is a great way to work muscles without putting strain on painful joints.

“It works the whole body, but puts less weight through your joints,” Alex Nicoletti from Versus Arthritis says.

“Cycling also works your lower body and is low impact so shouldn’t cause pain to joints. It gets you breathing quicker and your heart beating faster, so is good for your heart and lungs.

“Yoga, meanwhile, includes posture and breathing exercises that have been shown to help with back pain.”