An active lifestyle goes a long way towards reducing the risk of vascular disease. It will also help lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and amputation. Staying active can help you control your weight, increase your flexibility, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, improve your mental health, and feel good.

Before becoming more physically active, it is important to speak to your GP, especially if you have an illness for which you are already being treated or if you are taking medication.

Remember, being active doesn’t mean working out long hours in the gym. The simple acts like walking or swimming, climbing stairs or gardening are valuable ways to get active. The goal is to gain up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 or more days a week. Moderate exercise will make your breathing faster and you will feel warmer than you did before you started.

Attach a pedometer to your pants every day to measure your activity. It is believed that 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles) a day is extremely healthy and also free and easy. In addition to a daily walk, here are some helpful leg exercises to do at home.

The heel rises
Stand straight and stand up by lifting both heels as high as you can and then slowly returning to the starting position. You may want to stabilize yourself by placing one hand on a piece of furniture. Repeat the process of lifting the heel (up and down) in 3 sets of 10. If you’re in pain, rest a little between lifts, or stop altogether if it’s too much.

The heel rises
Alternative heel raises
Stand straight and stand on your toes, lifting both heels as high as you can. Keeping your weight on your toes, slowly lower your left heel to the floor. With your heel touching the floor, raise your left heel as high as you can while lowering your right heel to the floor.

The goal is 100 alternative raises. When you start to feel pain, rest a little between the bumps or stop entirely if it’s too much.

Alternative heel raises
Stand in front of a low step, put one of your feet on the step first, and then bring your other leg to it. Step back on the leg you climbed on first, then bring the other leg back down to join it.

Aim 50 steps up and down, take a break, and start the action again. Take another 50 steps, this time with the other leg. If you experience pain, rest a little between steps, or stop altogether if it’s too much.

picture of slim female legs over white

Toes running
Get on your footballs and walk, keeping your heels off the ground. Walk up and down the room or a corridor until you get nice and warm and your breathing becomes faster. After exercising your muscles, cool off and stretch, drink plenty of water during and after the activity, and wear sensitive clothing and shoes.

Every little bit helps!
Remember, it’s never too late to start exercising, and even small changes like walking instead of taking the bus can make a big difference. Set achievable goals and stay motivated by varying your activities. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try ballroom dancing or the trampoline, now is your chance!

Make it sociable!
When you take up an activity with friends or family, the workout is more fun, sociable, and more fun. You might be more motivated if you can take a weekly class and see friends while you’re there.