13 May

Have you examined how much you and your family exercise each week?

I read this last week on Google news

Astonishing: A survey commissioned by The Ramblers found a quarter of people walk for less than nine minutes a day – and that includes time spent getting to the car, to work and to the shops

Read more here

We all age quicker when we’re not moving and the consequences of that are age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.’

NIH study finds leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years.

image life expextanxy

I remember my mother taking regular exercise and spent everyday doing some form of exercise walking to the shops,to see friends and attending her social events as well as gardening, swimming and every Tuesday going to ‘swinging into shape’ (despite my father telling her she should claim her money back after all the years she had attended) an aerobic class, until well into her late eighties despite having arthritis. My father an ex-sailor enjoyed all water activities and actively encouraged us as well as helping with the local naval cadets which included young people who came from less advantageous backgrounds and this certainly kept some of them out of trouble. My grandfather was an amputee and he cycled to work daily on a bicycle and loved swimming.

This was a great example to their three children and we all followed her example by being involved in regular exercise in the same way and I am glad to say that their grandchildren are doing the same sort of exercise today-walking, swimming, gardening with the added yoga and cycling.

I am sure that many other families can say the same and on reflection this is such an important responsibility of a parent to set that example.

The recommended amount of exercise as suggested by the Chief Medical Officer is two-and-a-half hours a week of moderate physical activity each week.
Sadly, researchers suggest that almost half of us and not doing enough and moreover a quarter of us walk for less than nine minutes, or under an average of one hour a week – and that include walking to the car, to work or to the shops.

It is now established that there are probably about an estimated 12 million people in the UK who have hypertension and they are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. This can be reduced by treating the hypertension and reducing lifestyle risks.

A key lifestyle intervention is increasing physical activity in those who are not active at present.

As healthcare professionals we are recommended to discuss diet and exercise with people with hypertension as both a healthy diet and exercise can reduce blood pressure. We will now be using GPPAQ which is a questionnaire which has been approved as a screening tool in primary care for patients aged 16-75yrs to assess activity level. All patients with less than ‘Active’ score will be offered some support to increase activity and followed up after 6 months.

We will also be actively screening all patients on our list of 40 yrs or over for hypertension and every 5 years. General health checks will also be offered.

Recent research at Edinburgh University suggests sunlight helps reduce blood pressure as UV light release a compound which reduces blood pressure and benefits of sunlight far outweigh the risk of skin cancer. Hence, outdoor activity is even more beneficial!

Patients have shared their ideas and activities with me for me to share with you….

Do you enjoy gardening? Have you explored our London Parks? Do you have a yellow book to visit Gardens open? Or are you a member of the National Trust? Do you know about walks in and around Ealing? A trip to Brighton? Running or cycling clubs? Rowing? Friends of Kew? Dog walking- yours or a friends ?

If you look at the surgery website you find activities in and around Ealing which may be of interest and motivate us to maintain our activity level.

On a final note what can you gain out 30 minutes moderate activity on five or more days of the week is the minimum recommendation provided there are no other contraindications.

7 benefits according to the Mayo Clinic

Exercise controls weight
Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Exercise improves mood
Exercise boosts energy
Exercise promotes better sleep
Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Exercise can be fun


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Written by Dr Jacqueline Bayer


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