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Why staying active instead of just watching a summer of sport is good for your health

Even 10 minutes of physical exercise, like going for a walk, is good for you.
Even 10 minutes of physical exercise, like going for a walk, is good for you.

Whether it’s Wimbledon, rugby, or perhaps boxing… the so-called ‘summer of sport’ should be inspiring us all.

And not just to be a spectator, but to get off the sofa and do something active. Why not take a little inspiration from your sporting heroes and get physical yourself?

Regular physical activity is hugely important for people of all ages.

It can reduce the risk of getting more than twenty chronic conditions, from coronary heart disease and strokes to Type 2 diabetes.

It also helps with our mental health, reducing stress levels and anxiety, so it’s good news for our health all round.

It is worth keeping in mind what you’re snacking on whilst you watch sport on the box.

We consume more calories when we’re hooked onto the screen.

When you throw in alcohol consumption to cheer on your team, this can cause us to pile on the pounds.

What’s more, as little as 10 minutes of physical activity can do the trick.

The key thing is to get your blood pumping for at least that amount of time, so you know you’re doing some good for your heart, brain, bones and muscles.

If you’ve not done any exercise for a while the best approach is start to slowly at a pace to suit you and to find a form of exercise that you enjoy.

Leave the car at home or if you use public transport, get off a stop or two early, as walking briskly is an effective way to get back into regular exercise.

We can all find a staircase and skip the lift.

There are many ways to get help or advice. Talk to your GP or online Doctor about the best options for you.

But whatever you do, make sure you do something more than cheer on your sporting heroes from the side-lines, and make the most of our ‘Summer of Sport’.

Dr. Alexandra Phelan

* Dr Phelan is a GP with the NHS and Pharmacy2U, an online service which provides free, fast and convenient delivery of NHS repeat prescriptions.