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Gym 'not necessary' to stay fit

It is not necessary to complete a punishing workout at a gym to stay healthy, according to health experts. Physical activity that fits into people's everyday lives may be more effective.

Simply walking instead of taking the car or playing active games with children can help.

Around three in four women and three in five men do not take enough exercise.

The health ministers believe there is a desperate need to get people in Ireland to do more exercise as increasing levels of obesity risk growing levels of cardiovascular disease and other ill health.
Active people have a 50% lower risk of heart disease and regular exercise plays a role in tackling obesity, diabetes, osteoperosis and colon cancer.

Doctors are now providing people with information about exercise, and programmes are available for people to do physical activity at home with telephone support from an adviser.

Many people waste energy feeling guilty for not going to the gym, when instead they should think about what activity they can do easily and just do it. The key is tailoring the activity to the individual, whatever the age or ability.

Health Minister, Mary Harney said: "We want people to recognise that increasing physical activity does not necessarily mean pumping iron at the gym, but undertaking activities like walking a bit more, using the stairs rather than the lift or gardening."

If you want to become fit for a 1,500m race or a marathon, you do need to train very hard. But if you want to stay fit to stay alive, it is very likely that light activity helps. More...