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Exercise is MAGIC! Aoife Hannon Talks Physical Activity

26 Jun 2018

Exercise Is Magic! Aoife Hannon Talks Physical Activity

Would you believe me if I told you there is one thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory conditions? This one thing is inexpensive and better than any traditional medicine or tablet. This magic prophylactic is ……. EXERCISE!

Yes its true …. exercise truly is magic! We have all heard the term “Exercise is Medicine” and there is an increasing body of evidence to support this. We now know that increasing physical activity levels reduces overall risk of developing non-communicable diseases and reduces all-cause mortality.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommend that adults engage in a MINIMUM of 30-minutes of moderate intensity Physical Activity, 5 days a week. Moderate intensity refers to work at a pace where you’re getting the heart rate up. This means getting a little bit out of puff and getting somewhat of a sweat on. But 30-minutes out of your day for such an immense reward seems achievable, doesn’t it? So the exercise type can vary. It can be a brisk walk, a swim, a gym session, whatever your preference. Again I want to reiterate, this is the minimum exercise required to reduce our overall risk of disease.

Ok so you are doing really well with your physical activity levels, but what about looking at sedentary time? Sedentary time refers to the amount of time you are spending sitting down. For some of us this can be for long periods during the day at work or in the car. Long periods of sedentary time can have serious implications for our health. The opportunities for sedentary behaviour in modern society are ubiquitous. Objective measures have shown that the average adult spends 50–60% of their day in sedentary pursuits!

Now what is being advised as part of the physical activity recommendations is that we not only prescribe exercise, but we inform people about the importance of breaking up sedentary periods. This is the part I find challenging. I am probably getting double the minimum physical activity recommendations, but during the day I’m spending quite a bit of time sitting at my computer. I have a few tips for you that I find helpful in breaking this sedentary time.

  • Try get up and move each hour – a toilet break, filling your water bottle or just a quick walk around the office.
  • For my morning coffee I try and walk to the local shop 5 minutes down the road. I find this really helps clear my head and I’m more productive in the run up to lunch.
  • At lunch time I try get a bit of a walk in or I even take the time to do some stretches (easier when working from home ,I know!).

As an ambassador for The Complete Natural, I advocate for overall health, extending beyond the importance of dairy. Together we aim to contribute to the drive for health and wellness by sharing evidence based tips around diet and exercise that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. I hope this blog was some way informative and that the tips are useful. If you take one piece of information from the post let it be this: “Our bodies are designed to move, so MOVE IT!”


Aoife Hannon

Chartered Physiotherapist, qualified PTTI Pilates Instructor and Ambassador for Irish Dairy, The Complete Natural.