Reasons to get really fit

Why get fit?

Why get fit?

There are all kinds of reasons why many of us find it hard to start exercising - our day-to-day lives require a lot less physical activity.

Most of us own cars and rely on them to get around, and more and more people spend hours sitting in front of computers.

The excuses

The pressures of home and family life can also mean it feels as if there's little time left to fit in exercise. It's tough to get started.

Physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Conversely, exercise means a healthier heart because it reduces several cardiovascular risks, including high blood pressure

Being physically active can bolster good mental health and help you to manage stress, anxiety and even depression

Weight-bearing exercise, such as running, is good in promoting bone density and protecting against osteoporosis, which affects men as well as women.

Different exercises help with health niggles such as digestion, poor posture and sleeplessness. Physical activity can be beneficial for a range of medical conditions, from diabetes to lower back pain

Don't be a statistic

There are lots of positive reasons for getting fitter, including meeting new people and generally feeling better, but if you need to be scared into doing more exercise, consider the following:

On current trends a third of men will be obese by 2010, according to a 2006 Department of Health report in the UK.

Obesity is responsible for 9000 premature deaths a year in this country, and is a major contributory factor to heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is still the leading cause of death in the UK.

About a third of deaths caused by CHD are among people aged under 75.

Keep mobile

Almost half of adults in the UK will be aged over 50 by 2020. We tend to assume the benefits and pleasures of sport, exercise and fitness are only for younger people, but think again. The rewards of improved fitness later in life can be great - both for your health and social life.

Statistics show activity levels decline steadily with age, and by their mid-50s few people take regular exercise.

But regular activity is especially important as you age because it has beneficial effects on conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and helps you maintain mobility and mental well-being and, consequently, your independence.

There's no reason you should give up the sport you love just because you're getting older. For example, there are runners in their 50s, 60s and beyond whose fitness puts people 20 or 30 years their junior to shame.

Benefits you'll get are the same as younger people, but there are things that are of particular benefit as you get older:

More energy, improved sleep

stable weight, improved circulation, lower blood pressure and

delayed ageing. - BBC