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Health Glossary

Aerobic Activity


Aerobic activities are those which increase the body’s need for oxygen. Aerobic activity is the most efficient way to burn calories. You should aim to do 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling and swimming, a week. You can achieve this target by doing 30 minutes five days a week and breaking down your activity sessions in chunks of 10 minutes. To lose weight, you are likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet.

Anaerobic Activity

Anaerobic activities use the energy stored in your muscles. Anaerobic exercise also helps to build muscle mass. Bodies with more muscle tend to have higher metabolisms and burn more calories. Anaerobic exercise is especially helpful for weight management, as it helps to burn more calories even in a body at rest. Anaerobic exercise can also help build stamina and fitness levels.

Agility and Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the ability of the joints to move through a full range of motion. Flexibility in muscles allows for more movement around the joints and that means: improved posture, less muscle tension and soreness as well as reduced risk of injury. Overall flexibility will also mean reduced tension and relaxation for the mind and body.

Agility refers to the ability of the body to quickly respond to, and change the direction of its movement whilst still keeping its balance. Agility also helps the body to avoid injury.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. When you are anxious you feel fearful and tense. In addition you may also have one or more unpleasant physical symptom. For example, you might have a fast heart rate, dry mouth, and fast breathing. Anxiety is normal in stressful situations, and can even be helpful. However, people find it hard to control their worries and their feelings of anxiety if they are more constant and this can often affect their daily life.

Calories

Calories are a measure of energy. An average man needs around 2,500kcal a day. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal a day. These values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity, as well as other factors. Exercising will increase the amount of calories used by your body in a day.

Co-ordination

Co-ordination is the ability to use information received by the vision system to guide the body’s limbs. You can improve your co-ordination through exercises that help train your brain and body to know ‘what’s where’. This can really help reduce risk of injury including slips, trips and falls.

Core Muscles

These essential muscles make it possible for you to carry out everyday activities, from housework to sports. They are found in your back, abdomen, sides and legs. They help support your back when you bend over, stand up, and they assist with posture, walking and other movements that involve the whole body.


Depression

Things happen in life and we are bound to feel down from time to time, but when the feelings just don’t go away and they start to affect your ability to cope, then it could be a sign that you are ‘depressed’ in the medical sense. In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low mood or spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your everyday life, but can make everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, major depression (clinical depression) can be life-threatening, because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.

Low Impact

Low impact exercises are those that do not put too much strain or pressure on your joints. Low impact exercise is great at improving your health and fitness without harming your joints. Low impact exercises such as fast walking is a great way to get fit. Low impact exercise is ideal if you are recovering from injury or illness, are pregnant, very overweight, have heart problems or if you are new to exercise.

Metabolism

Metabolism is the term used for the chemical processes that continuously occur inside the body to keep you alive. These processes include breathing, repairing cells and digesting food, all of which require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Muscle cells need more energy to maintain them than fat cells, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio generally have a higher BMR. As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why the BMR tends to decrease with age. Men tend to have a faster metabolism as they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women, which is why their daily calorie allowance is higher. Building your muscle mass through exercise will increase your BMR/metabolic rate.

Respiratory System

Your lungs, heart and chest muscles are all involved in the respiratory system as they help get the oxygen in and around the body. As you exercise your body will need more oxygen and so your respiratory system will need to work harder. These muscles make it possible for you to perform everyday activities, by helping support your back when you bend over and stand up, and they work with other core muscles to assist with posture.

Stamina

Stamina is the body’s ability to keep going when you are being active. A person’s stamina will depend on both their aerobic fitness and the strength of their respiratory and muscle system. Walking is a great way to build up stamina, as you can gradually increase the distance and strenuousness of the walk.

Strength (training)

Strength training increases the strength, anaerobic stamina and size of skeletal muscles. Strength training can provide functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being, including benefits to bone, joint, tendon, ligament and muscle. Strength training can help reduce the risk of injury and is known to be particularly beneficial for conditions like osteoporosis. Strength training improves the metabolism and can help improve heart health. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so increasing your muscle mass could also help you lose weight.