Health and Wellbeing - Exercise
Brought to you by 'A Healthy CIT', a multi campus iniatitive.
Did you know that according to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 adults are not getting enough physical activity? Have you ever thought about your own activity levels?
How much physical activity should I be taking?
Firstly, you need to understand some of the key words. The ‘intensity’ of physical activity means how much effort you are making. The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland mention two types:
- 1) Moderate intensity- your breathing and heart rate increase. You feel warm and slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation. This could include a brisk walk.
- 2) Vigorous intensity- you are breathing heavily and cannot hold a conversation. Your heart is beating fast and you are sweating (for example running or fast cycling).
It is recommended that all adults between 18 and 64 do at least 30 mins of moderate physical activity on 5 days of the week (or 150 minutes per week).
For more benefit, this should increase to 60 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week plus activities which increase muscular strength (lifting, circuit training, pilates etc) twice per week.
A general rule: 1 minute of vigorous PA=2 mins of moderate intensity activities. For safety, if you have a diagnosed medical condition (for example diabetes, heart disease, dizziness, asthma, arthritis) it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before increasing your physical activity.
Physical Activity does not have to mean becoming a gym bunny or participating in sports. Exercise is a type of physical activity but not all physical activities have to be deliberate exercise. The World Health Organisation define physical activity as ‘ any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure’…..so this can include; walking, dancing, gardening, housework, cycling, lifting as part of a job, active transport…the list goes on.
(Source: National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland)
Why should I bother?
Physical activity improves mood, mental wellbeing, increases muscular and cardiovascular fitness, bone density and cognition. It even reduces the risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression, colon cancer and breast cancer (National Physical Activity Plan for Ireland). It really is one of the most important and beneficial things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing.
But I’m so busy already- how can I fit it into my lifestyle?
College is busy and can be very stressful between assignments, lectures, making new friends and studying for exams. The challenge of finding more time to be active might seem a bit overwhelming. To help you, we have compiled a list of changes you could make to your daily routine to increase your physical activity.
Transport- if you live close by, why not walk to college instead of bringing the car? Avoid the queues and stress of parking! It will save you money and help you do your bit for the environment. Another option is cycling (reflective gear and a helmet are must-haves).
Set a challenge for yourself to get up from the desk at regular intervals during the day. We know this might not be possible during lectures but when you are studying make sure to get up and walk around every 40 mins. It will clear your head and those extra steps will add up over time.
Simple changes in how you move around campus will add up over time Take the stairs instead of a lift or walk a longer route to your lecture. In Bishopstown, why not walk a few laps of the track in those few minutes between your lectures or park in the bottom tier of the car park to get those extra steps in. Remember it all counts!
Dog walking- can be a great way of earning a few extra euro and getting your exercise in for the day at the same time. Win-win! Ask around and, over time, you might end up with a few clients through word of mouth.
It has never been easier to keep track of your physical activity using your smart phone. Pedometer (step-counter) and physical activity apps are available for both Android and Iphone. ‘Argus’ keeps track of steps, calories, time spent active and hydration. What’s even better is…it’s free!
Sports don’t have to mean competitive soccer, GAA or rugby if they are not your thing. Have you tried some of the other sports clubs at CIT? Check out the sports website (http://www.cit.ie/studentlife/sportsandclubs/) for a full list. You might be surprised with what is available on campus! The CIT Athletics Club run a social jogging group catering for all levels every Monday and Wednesday evening (6.30pm at athletics track), completely free of charge! Gym classes, yoga or pilates are also alternatives to outdoor sports. Check out the CIT Gym Facebook page for details on specific classes.