Australia is famous for being a sporting country, but how many people live up to our energetic reputation?

The bad news is that around 75 per cent of us are not active enough and find it too difficult to meet the minimum daily recommendation for exercise. Exercise is essential in preventing disease and developing and maintaining optimum health.

There are several different aspects to consider in any exercise program. Aerobic exercise develops and maintains cardiovascular fitness, whilst weight training concentrates on muscle tone and strength. Stretching before and after exercise is also important to keep the body flexible and balanced. The secret of a successful well balanced exercise program is variety and participating in different types of exercise in moderation so that joints, ligaments and muscles are not over stressed.

Remember a fitness regime should keep us fit for life not just in our youth so we do not want to wear our body out through over use. As an active person, you are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, have a stroke or get certain types of cancers, such as colon and breast cancer.

Remember any movement is better than no movement, so walk up the stairs instead of standing on an escalator or taking the lift, walk instead of riding wherever possible and take up a sport that you love. Physical inactivity is ranked just behind cigarette smoking as a cause of ill health.

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