Below is C3 director Christine Hancock’s response to Barbara Ellen’s opinion piece Let’s stop pretending exercise is fun. Like work, you’ve just got to do it. This letter to the editor was originally published by The Guardian on 31 March 2019 in their Letters section.
‘Don’t sweat it, Barbara’
Dear Barbara Ellen, please do not worry and please do not worry the readers of the Observer: you do not have to suffer exercise (“Let’s stop pretending exercise is fun. Like work, you’ve just got to do it”, Comment). If you want to be healthy and avoid some of the terrible illnesses of our generation, you need to be reasonably physically active, but you don’t need to sweat it out in a gym!
You should try to be active daily and should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week. The best thing is to build it into your life: get off the bus a stop early, park the car further away, walk up stairs, but find something fun to do once a week: dancing, football, tennis. The evidence is compelling that regular physical activity helps to prevent chronic diseases (heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression) and premature death.
Rather than telling the “brutal depressing truth”, there’s a really good-news story: if we are all a bit more active, eat and drink a bit less and a bit better and don’t smoke, we can prevent three-quarters of these serious illnesses and save almost half the costs to the NHS. So start changing now and enjoy feeling happy, well and full of energy!
Christine Hancock, founder and director, C3 Collaborating for Health
Related post: For more easy health tips read C3’s 5 tips for a healthy new year