• Reduce body weight, and the body’s overall fat percentage
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness (stamina)
  • Reduce blood pressure to a controllable level
  • Reduce an individual’s resting heart rate
  • Reduce cholesterol

Cholesterol we take in via food, contrary to popular belief, does not appear to affect blood cholesterol levels.  What it does do is affect the way the body disposes of cholesterol.  Saturated fats inhibit the body’s ability to deal with LDL.  Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do not have as much of an effect.

This mean you should try to keep your intake of saturated fat to a minimum so that your body is able to deal with blood cholesterol effectively

How to cut down on fat

Eat less saturated fat  i.e. animal fats, and don’t eat the skin
Use small amounts of saturated fat for cooking
Use low fat diary products e.g. semi-skimmed milk
Use low fat spreads
Grill and bake foods, instead of roasting and frying

  • Speed up the body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which our body burns calories )
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Improved body’s posture, through an increase in muscle tone
  • Guard against the onset of coronary artery disease
  • Decrease stress levels
  • Improve self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Speed up rehabilitation from injury or muscle imbalance
  • Retard the onset of osteoporosis through weight bearing exercise

 Follow a ‘Bone Friendly’ diet

Health does need a well balanced diet, incorporating minerals and vitamins from different food groups.  You especially need to make sure your diet is rich in calcium.  The best sources of calcium are milk and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt.  Non-dairy sources of calcium include green leaved vegetables, baked beans, bony fish and dried fruits. 

 Take  regular weight-bearing exercise

Like muscles and other parts of the body, bones suffer if they are not used.  They need regular weight-bearing exercise that exerts a loading impact, stretches and contracts the muscles,  stimulating  the bones to strengthen.  Good bone building exercises include running, skipping, aerobics, tennis, even brisk walking.  Try to exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes.  If you haven’t exercised for a while start gently and check with your doctor if you have other health problems and are worried about exercising.

What else can I do?
If you are a smoker – give up!  Smoking has toxic effect on bones in men and women.  It can cause women to have an early menopause and may increase the risk of hip fractures in later life.  Stopping smoking will benefit your bones and general health and fitness.

Watch what you drink!  Drinking too much alcohol is damaging to bone turnover.  Limit your alcohol intake to a maximum of 14 units per a week for men and 14 units for women. 

  • Overcome outside stress and reduce the body’s susceptibility to infection or illness
  • Regularise sleeping patterns
  • Develop a more efficient blood circulation system
  • Improve overall flexibility

 I have seen so many people in the gym who have a hard workout but don’t stretch.  Every time we exercise muscles contract and shorten.  Muscles need to be stretched so they return to their original length and recover quickly.  Through stretching, muscles will become stronger – which is what we all want – so why not stretch and improve your flexibility.

 Some of the benefits

Ease muscle soreness

Relax the soul and mind

Improve body posture

Promote mobility

Reduce the chance of pulling muscles

  • Increase bone density
  • Strengthen ligaments and tendons
  • Reduce hypertension
 Taken from National OST - Society