Exercise can also help people avoid more serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. It can also improve mental health and wellbeing.
Now the Telehealth and Telecare organisation is urging people to take up the winter fitness challenge, to make this New Year a healthy one to remember.
NHS 24’s Medical Director Professor George Crooks said: “The New Year brings a fabulous opportunity to get into fitness and improve your health for the better.
“Simple activities such as walking, jogging and swimming can help keep you healthy over winter and ward off illnesses such as cold and flu – but it can also reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease. Research also shows it can improve wellbeing, reduce stress and depression.
“To stay healthy adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week. The easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around.
“However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
“Getting into fitness has the potential to keep illnesses at bay over the winter months and indeed, all-year-round. Although, it is important to speak to GP first for some advice, if you’ve never exercised before.”
The NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot has self-help guides for a number of common illnesses while www.activescotland.org.uk has a range of tips on how to stay fit and healthy in the coming year.