Most of us will admit to spending some days at home, lazing on the couch and grazing on snacks, particularly when the weather is bad. However the summer months in Gibraltar, that boast plenty of sunshine, provide a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some physical activity!
According to the Gibraltar Health & Lifestyle Survey (2021) 47.1% of adults report doing little or no physical activity during their daily routine. Only half of us walk to work, and around a quarter of us do no regular exercise at all…
Exercising and keeping active is essential to healthy living; it helps to maintain bone health, encourage muscle strength and flexibility, improves co-ordination and can prevent weight-gain which in turn is associated with cancer, type2 diabetes and heart disease. Physical activity is also seen to reduce stress levels and lift mood.
In order to stay at our healthiest, recommendations are for:
• Adults to be active for at least 150 minutes each week; with at least 10 minutes each day participating in activity that gets your heart beating faster, and your lungs working a bit harder.
• Children aged five to 16 to be active for at least 60 minutes each day.
• Children under five to get three hours of activity every day.
All activity counts and you can build it into your day by, for example, taking the stairs, getting active whilst doing housework or going for a walk. It is a good idea to participate in activities you enjoy with friends, family or as part of a group, as this can help to keep you motivated. You can search Change4Life for tips on family activities, and children can take a quick 3 question quiz to find inspiration for activities that may suit them.
Whilst the weather is hot, it is important to stay mindful of good hydration before/ during/ after physical activity. Water makes up two thirds of our body and is vital to ensuring healthy body functions. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and after bursts of exertion will help to prevent headaches, constipation, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other health problems.
If you are outdoors in direct sunlight, you will also need to use sufficient sun cream to cover exposed body parts; reapplying after swimming if applicable. Most of us do not apply enough sunscreen, and as a guide you should use two teaspoons to cover your head, arms and neck (use two tablespoons to cover the entire body).
Walk, run, skip, cycle, swim, kick a ball, fly a kite… find any activity that will keep you moving this summer!
Read more: HealthyGibraltar.org/Physical-Activity