'New Year-New You', something a lot of us promise ourselves. There are so many benefits to exercise, whether it's starting by going for a walk or enhancing an existing programme. Read on for many of the benefits you may not have thought of.
Of course with anything new there is always the risk of injury, so read below for the BCA's top tips to avoid injury.
Tim Hutchful, British Chiropractic Association (BCA) chiropractor, comments:
“It’s great to have the will and motivation to get fitter but bear in mind that exercise puts added pressure on our joints and muscles which could cause issues for your back and neck if not introduced to your body in a safe way.”
So how can you prevent these injuries? The British Chiropractic Association has given the following advice:
It’s All in the Prep
• Before you begin any exercise programme check there are no medical reasons why you cannot commence the activity, particularly if you are not normally physically active. Consult your GP if in doubt.
• A BCA chiropractor can advise you on how to approach a new exercise routine and tell you what signs to look for if you’re overdoing it.
• Make sure you get the right attire for your chosen activity; clothes that are too tight or inappropriate could constrict your movement leading to injury.
• Have appropriate footwear for the type of exercise you are doing – most specialist sportswear retailers will be able to guide you on this.
• With all exercise, you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into it, start with lighter movements like walking or jogging to lessen the chance of muscle strain.
1. For Living Longer – Jogging
A US study showed that adults over 65 who ran or jogged for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week were as healthy as young adults in their 20s. This might not sound important, but your walking style is a key indicator of mortality, so the longer you can stay spritely on your feet, the longer and healthier your life should be. Meanwhile, another study found that light jogging (between 70-120 minutes per week) was linked to the lowest mortality rate compared to sedentary people and heavy runners - so little and often is key here. 
2: For Improving Memory – Dancing
A study from 2017 found that all exercise can help reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, but dancing more than any other sport. The
study, which focused on adults in their late 60s who took part in a weekly dance class, found that all participants showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, which can be
affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as more general age-related decline.
3. For Back Pain – Active Therapies
Many GP appointments are connected to muscle and nerve problems- and these are often based in the back. If you suffer with back pain, you will know that it can affect your movement and sleep and leave you feeling quite low. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of gentle stretching. Also, research shows that active therapies, such as chiropractic treatment, are a great option for managing back pain and to create optimal alignment, balance and symmetry.
4. For Depression and Anxiety - Walking
Science agrees - walking outdoors has been linked to a reduction in stress and a boost in mood, particularly for those who have just been through a negative life event such as a serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Brisk walks have also been shown to help women deal with anxiety and stress that's sometimes associated with menopause. Movement helps your brain to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can reduce the perception of [pain as well as depression and anxiety.
5. For Bone and Muscle Health – Weight Training
Experts are increasingly suggesting a bit of strength training goes a long way when it comes to better bone and muscle health. As we get older, we start to lose muscle mass, which can leave us prone to falls, as well as making it easier to gain weight. So think of strength training as insurance for your later life. While this could mean leading to lift lightweights, it can also mean strength exercises using your own body weight – such as sit-ups or squats. It’s really never too late to start. A study of 90-year-olds found that 12 weeks of strength training improved their muscle tone, ability to balance, general power and walking speed.
Don’t forget 150 minutes (just over 21 mins daily) is the minimum moderate exercise the NHS recommends for adults to stay healthy! And the best part is, it’s freely available to most of us, small things make a big difference. Movement is the new medicine!