Frequently asked questions about exercising


Why is exercising regularly good for me?


Regular exercise helps your body to use oxygen more efficiently. It helps strengthen your heart, improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure. And the more exercise you do the more energy you have to do the other things you want to do.


Do I need to warm up every time I exercise?


Yes everyone should do a warm up before they exercise. Stretching helps loosen up your muscles and prevent injury and muscle soreness a day or so after you exercise. It can help improve your performance too. Also, your muscles need oxygen for energy and gradually increasing your heart and breathing rate during your warm up increases the amount of oxygen available and makes your heart more efficient in increasing the blood flow that delivers the oxygen. A warm up also helps to focus your mind and concentrate on what you’re going to do.


Do I need to cool down every time I exercise?


Yes, it’s important to allow your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal before you carry on with your normal activities. Your cool down would usually include doing whatever aerobic exercise you’ve been doing gradually more slowly and gently and doing a few stretches of the muscles you’ve been using.


What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise can help you:

  • Lose weight and keep it off.
  • Increase your stamina even though you might feel more tired when you first start exercising.
  • Sleep better.
  • Keep minor illnesses and viruses at bay by boosting your immune system.
  • Make your heart stronger. When your heart is strong the flow of blood to other parts of your body is more efficient.
  • Make your lungs stronger. When your lungs are strong they can take in more oxygen to give you energy and help your body get rid of wast products.
  • Reduce your risks of developing a number of conditions – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke and some cancers.
  • Improve other conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and anxiety.
  • Help reduce the build up of plaques in your arteries and help keep your arteries clear.
  • Boost your mood.
  • Keep your body mobile and your mind sharp as you get older.
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Live longer.


What effect does aerobic exercise have on my body?


Aerobic exercise involves moving your large muscle groups in a repetitive way such as when you walk, swim, jog, cycle etc. This makes you breathe more quickly and deeply so that more oxygen enters your blood stream giving you energy. As well as delivering oxygen to your cells, the blood carries away carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other waste products.


Why do people say that aerobic exercise make them feel more positive?


While you’re exercising your body releases endorphins which are the body’s natural opiates. They can reduce stress, make any pain you have seem less severe and give you a high. They also make you feel less hungry and improve your body’s immune response.


Is it true that exercise can help with depression?


Yes, for the reasons above and because it helps boost your self esteem and mood. It can be especially helpful if you exercise with others.


I’m always tired. Won’t exercising make that worse?


Although exercising may make you feel tired after a session, over a period of time it will help increase your stamina and make you feel as though you’ve got more energy.


I have a lung condition. Will doing exercise harm my lungs?


No, completely the opposite. All the evidence shows that regular exercise will improve your lung function. But always check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.


I have diabetes. Can I exercise?


Yes. Exercise is very important for people with diabetes. Among other things exercise helps to control blood glucose, lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risks of heart disease. You should discuss your exercise routine  with your doctor who will help you to decide which activities to do, when and whether you need to measure your blood glucose levels before and/or after you exercise.


I have arthritis.  Can I exercise?


Yes, it’s really important that you exercise to increase your strength and flexibility and reduce the pain and stiffness in your joints. Start gradually, avoiding doing any activities which make your joints painful. If you’re not sure, discuss an appropriate exercise programme with your doctor. Exercise strengthens your muscles and surrounding tissues which support your bones.


I have heart disease.  Can I exercise?


Yes, Check with your doctor first, but aerobic exercise can improve the strength and efficiency of your heart. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.


I’ve had a heart bypass.  Can I exercise?


Yes. Aerobic exercise will help you recover and return to full strength and activity. Discuss with your doctor before you start.


I find it difficult to take my pulse.  Can I use something else to measure how I’m doing?


If you can still hold a conversation while you are exercising then that’s probably the maximum intensity you should try. You could buy a heart rate monitor, most of which you wear like a watch. Or if you have access to a local gym a lot of the cardio machines have built in heart rate monitors. Make sure you tell one of the gym instructors about your prostate cancer and any other health problems you have before you use a cardio machine. Or you could ask someone else to take your pulse for you.


Some of my medications raise my heart rate.  How can I measure how hard I’m exercising?

It’s best to talk to your doctor and take an exercise test before beginning a regular exercise routine.

I have a lung condition. Can I use the exercise machines at the gym, for example the treadmill?


Yes, but talk to your doctor first. And tell one of the gym instructors about your lung condition, your prostate cancer and any other health problems you have. They will suggest the best equipment and settings for you.