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Exercise has a definition

If you were to ask a rational person, 'Would you like to improve your mood, sleep better and have a better sex life?' you'll probably get one of two responses. They might simply run away, thinking you're a snake-oil salesman. Or, they might smile broadly and ask for more information. And so they should for those are only 3 of the benefits afforded by exercise according to the fabled Mayo Clinic.

7 benefits of exercise (according to the Mayo Clinic):

  • losing weight

  • improving your mood

  • strengthening your heart and lungs

  • combating heart disease

  • helping you sleep better

  • putting more spark into your sex life

  • just for fun

You'll also have more energy.

All of this begs the question, what actually is exercise? What counts and what gives me the most benefit?

According to the medical dictionary (see our references), exercise is:

  1. Planned - you do it at a certain time. It's in the schedule.

  2. Structured - you have a program, a class, a set amount of laps.

  3. Repetitive - you're there 3 or 4 or 7 times a week.

  4. Purposeful - the goal is to improve or maintain your health.

Why the 4 points matter

Aussies know they should exercise. 'I'm going to join a gym' or 'I'm taking up jogging' are familiar New Year's Resolutions and speak to an underlying notion that we're not doing enough. Exercise is often hard to prioritise. We're all busy and many things seem to get in the way of making the time. But the above 4 points matter for a sound physiological reason. While any physical activity is better than none, obviously, the real benefits of exercise come when:

  • your heart rate rises

  • your heart rate stays elevated for at least 25 minutes

  • and does so regularly, that is, 3 or 4 times a week.

A walk in the park with the dog, just ain't going to cut it.

Who says so? Well, for starters, the Australian Department of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine - that's a heck of a lot of professionals.

In How Not To Accidentally Die, we'll show you how the specific recommendations play out and what you can do to reap the numerous benefits of proper exercise.

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