Tackling the Lack of Exercise

It goes without saying that exercise has a significant impact on our physical and mental wellbeing and most of us know that we should definitely be doing more. The burning question is how much and how often? On the NHS website about exercise, they mention it’s best to do ‘at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week’. As a general rule, however, you should ideally try to aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day whilst if the goal is to lose weight, you’d likely need to be doing more (see this article from verywellfit).

Courtesy of TED-Ed (taken from YouTube) Terms of Service

There are a lot of different types exercises one can engage in ranging from short bursts of intense exercise to more relaxed forms of moderate exercise. Ideally, I suspect we want to be using all our muscles to keep our bodies and our minds fit but depending on the exercise, certain muscle groups may be used over others. Playing sports offers different levels of intensities of exercise depending on the type of sports and whilst some people may be really into all kinds of sports (and exercise), we also need to appreciate the fact that for others, it may just not be their thing. Sure, some of us may believe they that don’t have time (rightly or wrongly) to exercise or that a certain injury or illness stops them from doing particular forms of exercise. It may be that being overweight genuinely restricts their ability to do strenuous exercise with their limited range of movements. However, we know that engaging in some form exercise is better than no exercise at all and so long as you put your mind to it, there’s always a way!


In the cancer setting

A recent paper in JAMA Oncology (June 2020) has shown that merely replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with light-intensity physical activity is thought to be associated with an 8% lower risk of cancer mortality while moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is associated with a 31% lower risk of cancer mortality. If you want more scientific data on the benefits of exercise in relation to cancer, have a look at this systematic review.


If the Idea of Exercise is Too Much?

Exercise need not necessarily be in the form of going to the gym or playing sports. After all, do you remember the people from the blue zone (areas in the world that have the highest concentration of 100-year-olds where often the concept of exercise takes a different meaning) discussed earlier in the Cancer Prevention Research section? Perhaps, consider taking up walking for a starters or climbing up & down the stairs or have some fun doing a bit of light gardening? You could then move onto muscle-strengthening activities (e.g. yoga, pilates, tai chi). Gadgets such as the Fitbit and their equivalent have made it to the mainstream fitness world and the general consensus seem to suggest 10,000 steps a day is a good starting point for keeping fit. Separate to this and depending on how you perceive exercise, cleaning up the house and even doing the daily chores could also be considered an option (or not, I hear you say)? Alternatively, if you have a gaming console (e.g. a Nintendo Switch, a PlayStation, an Xbox, etc.) one can always do some sports / athletics games as a family thing, which would be worth the investment when considering the price of gym membership and keeping the children happy.

At the end of the day, what is important is for the the idea of exercise to be something enjoyable as opposed to yet another task. To get you started, you need to work on the mindset and break the cycle of being sedentary where the rest should then follow (or I keep reminding myself); here’s a sample beginner’s guide to working out (Healthline). The famous slogan just do it by the sports company Nike, may well be what’s needed when it comes to taking up exercise but make sure to set achievable goals and find a good routine. If you also need help to manage your weight, have a look at the sections on Tackling Obesity and Tackling Poor Diet. To calculate the number of calories burned through exercise, try out the Calories Calculator (Bupa UK)


Taken directly from the NHS webpage on the Benefits of Exercise

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


Exercise makes you happier than having money, according to Yale and Oxford research (WEF)



Whilst you can always do a google search for gym memberships near you, remember your local leisure centre and council may be offering initiatives such as free exercise classes or a free swim on certain days of the week. It may be worth looking for information on your local council website and also to be aware that there are numerous ways to get fit for free.


To view some of high end gadgets and services in the fitness world, click here


Cancer Prevention Research  >>   Achieving Good Health & Resisting Cancer (n = 1)  I  Tackling Stress  I  Tackling Sleep  I  Tackling Obesity  I  Tackling Smoking  I  Tackling Alcohol  I  Tackling Poor Diet  I  Tackling Sun Exposure  I  Tackling the Work-Life Balance  I  Tackling the Fear of Seeing Your Doctor  I  Cancer Screening  I  Cancer Vaccination  I  Genetic Testing