The benefits range from the obvious, such as making you slimmer and fitter, increasing life expectancy due to reduced chance of serious disease, to the less obvious – exercising apparently makes us all happier.
And the amount of activity experts recommend, at 30 minutes five times a week roughly, isn’t exactly a big ask when it comes to demands on our time, is it?
Yet most of us don’t get this much exercise and it seems a two-and-a-half hour commitment is just a walk, a jog or a sprint too far when it comes to the demands of modern life.
Despite constantly writing about the benefits of exercise and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, I am guilty as charged when it comes to not hitting these meagre targets.
In days gone by, in a life of singledom, going to the gym three or four times a week, while not always my top choice of recreational pursuit, was do-able.
I could congratulate myself for being one of those who paid their monthly gym fees and then actually went to the gym.
But just one small child later, I now wonder how I managed to find the time to go to the gym even once a week. Life is now dominated by two things – work and childcare. Exercise is limited to long walks to the office and nursery.
And I’d be lying if I said that my health hadn’t suffered as a result. So I always read with interest any tips about how we can incorporate more activity into everyday life.
Walking is one of them, so at least I can tick that one off, as well as using stairs rather than lifts.
If you have an office job, standing up while using the phone is another suggestion I have heard. This one I am less comfortable with.
If I saw someone hovering above their seat while talking on the phone then I might suspect that piles or some other posterior ailment is afflicting them.
Housework, such as hoovering and gardening, will also help. I’d like to say I could tick this one off too, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
The message is that you don’t need to run a marathon or climb Ben Nevis to get more active. Simple steps are the way to go if we’re to boost the nation’s health.
Inventing a time machine may also be helpful.