We all know we need to exercise to stay healthy, and there's lots of guidance out there on how much we should do. However, incorporating regular exercise into your day can be a challenge, especially if you lead a busy life and would rather relax in your free time than work out. A lack of exercise is not only bad for your health but can also leave you feeling demotivated and lacking in self-esteem2. Whether it's incorporating a scenic walk into your routine or going to an exercise class once a week, here are some easy ways to be more active in your everyday life:
Walk or cycle to work
If you live within a short commute of work, your child's school or your local shops, the easiest way of being more active would be to change up your mode of transport. Instead of wasting fuel driving or being uncomfortable on public transport, hop on your bike and cycle or slide on some comfy shoes to walk.
Go for a walk in your lunchbreak
Sitting down at a desk or doing the same action all day, can make you feel lazy and leave your limbs feeling stiff. Stretch your legs out in the open air during your lunch break by walking in a nearby park or taking a stroll through the shops on the high street. If you don't work near a town, go for a brief stroll around your building instead.
Attend an exercise class
Whether you're an early bird, can fit a class in during your lunchbreak or you have time after work, attending an exercise class such as spinning (intensive indoor cycling), yoga or dance even just once a week will help improve your fitness and overall well-being.
Take the stairs
Live in an apartment block or perhaps you work in a multi-storey office building? Taking the lift up to your destination may seem like second nature but occasionally opting for the stairs is a great way to increase your heart rate and strengthen your leg muscles.
Get a pet or borrow a friends
If you're the owner of a dog, you'll already be doing more exercise than most by regularly taking themout for walks. If you aren't lucky enough to be one however, you might consider buying a pet or asking a friend if you can take theirs for walks.
Use a basket at the supermarket instead of a trolley
When you're going to the supermarket to do a small food shop, give your arms a real workout by using a basket instead of opting for a trolley. You might find you buy less too!
Spend some time playing with your kids or grandkids
Instead of sticking the kids in front of the TV when they get home from school, why not spend some valuable time with them AND increase your activity levels by playing a game with them for half an hour? According to the British Heart Foundation, an hour of play could potentially burn off 300 calories3 although this will of course depend on the game or activity.
Do squats while you brush your teeth
Instead of standing stationery while you brush your teeth, try doing some squats to strengthen your thighs, core and glutes. Start off easy by only doing a few repetitions and gradually build it up over a few weeks. Just be careful not to hurt yourself doing it.
Exercise in front of the TV
Instead of lounging around on the sofa while watching your favourite shows, practice a few squats or lunges. Alternatively, sit down on the floor and do a few stretches to ease sore muscles and any aches.
Pace the room or just stand when you are on the phone
Whether you're having a catch up with a friend or you're on a business call, stay on your feet or pace the room as you speak to work your leg muscles.
For more information on how many calories you can burn doing activities such as walking, dancing and even housework, take a look at the British Heart Foundationexercise calories calculator.Change4Lifealso have a handy tool to help find fun activities in your local area.
Any advice or health statistics mentioned in this article are for informational purposes only and should not replace advice given by a medical professional.
Cooking or part cooking your own meals is a good way of ensuring you are getting enough fibre and nutrients in your lunch time meal as well as preventing unwanted weight gain, extra expenses and irritating hunger pangs in the afternoon.