21 minutes for a better quality of life

Numerous studies have shown the positive influence that regular exercise can have on people's physical and mental health. Just 21 minutes of exercise a day can make a lasting difference to your own health.

True or false? Explore some assertions about sport and discover valuable tips on the easiest way to integrate exercise into your daily life. It doesn’t have to be a marathon – even a little bit of effort can make a big difference.

Exercise is good for body and mind

Regular exercise plays a key role in maintaining and promoting health among all age groups. Small children have an innate urge to move around, and this needs to be encouraged. Physical activity has a positive impact on physical and mental health from a very early age.

Whether on your journey to work or into town, at work or playing an active sport, it’s easy to integrate exercise into your daily life. The WHO recommends 150 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity exercise each week. Anyone who invests this time in themselves and their health is already taking a step in the right direction. Just over 21 minutes per day is all it takes to avoid long-term health problems.

Regular exercise improves adults’ physical health in the following ways

  • Improved bone health
  • Healthy body weight
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular, cancer and overall mortality
  • Reduced risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease
  • Less back pain

Effects of physical activity on mental health

In adults, exercise has a positive effect not only on their physical health but also on their mental and cognitive health:

  • Improved circulation in the brain (improved glucose supply, increased nutrient transport, better removal of metabolites (amyloid beta protein?)
  • Improved cognitive ability, reduced risk of dementia-related illnesses (including Alzheimer’s)
  • Reduced risk of depression and depressive moods
  • Improved sleep (more efficient and better-quality sleep, deeper sleep, reduced daytime drowsiness, reduced consumption of sleeping aids)
  • Improvement in general wellbeing
  • Improvement in social contacts
  • Increased production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced risk of degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Reduced risk of short-term episodes of anxiety
  • Regular exercise improves your quality of life

Regular exercise, a balanced diet and recovery are key elements for a healthy life.

Are you lacking motivation? In this article you’ll find tips on how to stay motivated and conquer your inner couch potato.

Every step counts

The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, along with two sessions of strengthening exercises. While this is already entirely routine for many amateur sportsmen and women, a lot of other people are terrified by the prospect. But beginners can also achieve this target and integrate it easily into their daily lives. It’s not about doing marathon training and trying to achieve record times – small goals are all it takes. Doing ten more minutes of exercise every day than you did the day before is already a start.

Our exercise tips

Our exercise tips will enable you to be more active in your daily life with just a little bit of additional effort. You will find suggestions that make it really easy for you to take regular exercise.

  • Cycle rather than drive: For shorter or even for longer journeys, leave your car in the garage and take your bike. If it’s too far to cycle, go by public transport instead. Get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs rather than the lift. If you need to go up several floors, at least come back down via the stairs.
  • Walk around your office while you’re on the phone, however long the call.
  • Go for a short walk after your lunch break.
  • Set an alarm in your office so that you can build in a short break for squats, chair yoga or other little exercises after 30 minutes of sitting down.
  • Combine waiting at traffic lights, the till or the bus stop with exercises: go up on your tiptoes or alternate standing on one leg.
  • Take a little stroll around the block before going to bed. Fresh air does you good.
  • Doing the big shop in the car? Rather than parking right in front of the supermarket, look for a space further away. Then you can have a little walk to the entrance.
  • Take your sports kit to work with you or keep it in a bag by your front door. That way it’ll be easier to go training straight after work. If you’ve made yourself comfortable on the couch when you get home, you’ll be less likely to get back up again and do some exercise.
  • Arrange to exercise with a friend. You’re more motivated together, and the hard work is much more enjoyable.
  • Schedule time for exercise in your diary and take it as seriously as a doctor’s appointment. Even if it’s just ten minutes.
  • Walking, cycling or hiking – at weekends, spend as much time as possible outdoors.
  • Develop strategies to combat excuses. You need two counterstrategies for every excuse. If the weather’s too bad to go jogging, for example, the first counterstrategy could be: “I’ll join a running group”, while an indoor bad-weather programme could help as an additional counterstrategy.

Compromises are permitted: If you don’t want to arrive at the office drenched in sweat after a bike ride, let an electric bike take the strain in the morning, but turn the motor off for the journey home.

SWICA can support you with exclusive services

Up to 900 francs* for preventive services each year

Exercising and building strength will help you stay fit and healthy. That’s why SWICA supports its supplementary insurance customers with generous contributions of up to 600 francs* per year (*find out more). Whether it’s annual memberships for qualified fitness centres or selected group associations, personal training or independent workouts, SWICA supports your exercise activities.

By the way, supplementary insurance is always a valuable add-on to your basic insurance, and you can purchase a plan from SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer provides your basic insurance.

To the supplementary insurance plans

Free santé24 exercise consultation for SWICA customers

Keen to do some exercise, but don’t want to hire a personal trainer or go to a fitness centre right away? SWICA offers its customers an exercise consultation. The exercise specialists at santé24 motivate you to engage in healthier exercise, even if you have physical limitations. They provide self-help solutions for dealing with tension and pain, offer advice on preventing falls, help you plan your workouts and support you with rehabilitation training after an injury. They also offer advice on building strength, ball sports and running.
The exercise consultation is free of charge but by appointment. Please contact santé24.

Find out more

santé24 – your Swiss telemedicine service
Phone +41 44 404 86 86
View the entire range of santé24 services
Registration for a telephone consultation

SWICA – Because health is everything

Being active pays off. SWICA – unlike many other health insurance companies – supports your personal commitment through a wide range of activities and offers relating to health promotion and preventive healthcare. Whether it's yoga, tai chi, fitness classes, swimming lessons, breathing exercises, personal training, nutritional advice, mindfulness training, tennis or one of the other available options, you enjoy attractive contributions of up to 1'300 francs* per year from the COMPLETA FORTE, COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans (*see detailed information).

Incidentally, supplementary insurance always provides valuable additional benefits above and beyond those available under basic insurance. It can be taken out with SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer currently provides your basic insurance.


Personal consultation

Would you like more information or a personal consultation? SWICA Client Services would be happy to assist. Call us on 0800 80 90 80 or send us a message using the contact form below.

Request a personal consultation