Each day 400 people in the UK die of heart and circulatory disease and, according to NHS UK, women are four times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer.  But there are thing we can do for ourselves to change these statistics and it doesn't have to involve wearing lycra or going to the gym!

If you want to increase your activity levels and don't like gyms etc then a great alternative is walking.

Ideally, the recommendations for aerobic exercise advise us to take 1 hour moderate exercise on 3 or more occasions a week -  but if you can't spare 1 hour at a time, you could choose to divide your exercise over the week... say, 30 mins on 6/7 days a week instead.

To get the most benefit from walking you need to increase your heart rate and breathing enough to get a proper work out - but not too much that you become exhausted.

A really simple way to measure whether or not the effort you are putting in is too much or too little is to use the "Sing, Talk, Gasp" method.

First of all, the "Sing" stage.  Any exercise should begin with a warm up so that your body can prepare itself for extra demands by lubricating joints (imagine your joints are rusty screws that need loosening with oil) and opening up your blood vessels ready to deliver blood/oxygen/nutrients to your muscles (imagine your blood vessels are like flat hose pipes that need opening to allow water through). Start off walking at a pace that is slow enough for you to sing a song at the same time if you wanted. Keep this pace for 10-15 mins so that you can warm-up properly and reduce the risk of injuring yourself.

Next the "Talk" stage.  After an adequate warm-up, increase your pace so that it is not possible to sing a song anymore, but so that it is possible to still talk in sentences without gasping. This is known as the conditioning phase.

If you can still sing in this stage, your pace is not fast enough, however if you are gasping ("Gasp" stage) and can no longer talk in sentences, then your pace is too fast and you need to slow down. The conditioning phase should last any where between 10-30 mins. If you have decided to walk 30 mins every day then your conditioning phase would be just 10 mins. If you have decided to walk 1 hour 3x week then your conditioning phase would be 30 mins.

Finally, after the conditioning phase you will need to cool-down. To cool down simply return to the pace you started off at in the warm-up "Sing" phase, so go back to a pace that will allow you to sing a song. Continue at this pace for 10-15 mins.

So there's the answer to why exercise makes you sing.  Now read why measuring your waist can often be more important than weighing yourself.

Precious Hart x

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