Exercise your right to be healthy

Exercise your right to be healthy

As dental professionals, you will likely encourage your patients to establish as many healthy habits as possible. But what about you? Do you get enough exercise to keep your mind and body healthy?

Adults aged 19-64 years should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. This should include a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity, as well as strength exercises.[i]

Why exercise?

Exercise is a ‘miracle cure’ according to the NHS website. The same site states various significant health benefits resulting from regular physical activity. These include up to a 50% lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, as well as an up to 30% reduced risk of early death. Regarding mental health, exercise is also linked with a lower risk of depression.[ii]

When it comes to oral health, exercise is associated with reduced periodontal disease,[iii][iv] especially in non-smokers.[v] However, there are some negative potential consequences to note. These include the risk of facial injury and the erosive impact of sugary sports drinks.[vi]

The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to exercise, but how do you fit it into an already hectic schedule?

Exercise around work

The recommended amount of exercise equates to 30 minutes five times a week. As such, it is quite achievable, especially when you plan ahead and make the most of the time you have available.

For example, simply walking to work from the train station rather than jumping on a bus will count towards your 30 minutes. Similarly, you could go for a brisk walk at lunchtime, allowing you to get out of the practice and give your vitamin D a boost at the same time. The lunch break might also be the perfect opportunity to do some yoga or small weights either on your own or with a colleague.

Find your new love

Outside work, you could visit the gym a couple of times a week with a friend or maybe a partner. Many gyms run classes for activities such as circuit training or Zumba if this seems more interesting.

If the gym isn’t your thing at all, joining a local sports club might be more enjoyable – pick a game you played at school and give it go! Most towns have clubs for sports like football, hockey, rugby, netball, basketball and martial arts, so try a few out to see what you prefer. Most will offer new social opportunities as well, so you can expand your friendship group at the same time to improve your work-life balance.

Moreover, you could get the family outside more at weekends – have you tried sailing or paddle boarding if you’re near the coast? How about a family game of rounders at the park or a cycle ride in the nearby woods? Whatever you do, it’s important to enjoy your exercise if you are to do it regularly. Stay healthy this summer and get active!


[i] NHS. Live Well. Exercise. Physical activity guidelines for adults. Click here to visit the NHS website. [Accessed July 2019]

[ii] NHS. Live Well. Exercise. Benefits of exercise. Click here to visit the NHS website. [Accessed July 2019]

[iii] Shimazaki Y, Egami Y, Matsubara T, Koike G, Akifusa S, Jingu S, Yamashita Y. Relationship between obesity and physical fitness and periodontitis. Journal of Periodontology. August 2010; 81(8); 1124-1131. Click here for DOI.

[iv] Omori S, Uchida F, Oh S, et al. Exercise habituation is effective for improvement of periodontal disease status: a prospective intervention study. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2018;14:565–574. Published 2018 Mar 20. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S153397

[v] Al-Zahrani MS, Borawski EA, Bissada NF. Increased physical reduces prevalence of periodontitis. J dent. Oct 2005; 33(9): 703-10. DOI: 10.1016/j. jdent.2005.01.004

[vi] Søvik, J. B., Skudutyte-rysstad, R., Tveit, A. B., Sandvik, L., & Mulic, A. (2015). Sour sweets and acidic beverage consumption are risk indicators for dental erosion. Caries Research, 49(3), 243- 250. doi: 10.1159/000371896

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