According to guidelines adults aged 18 to 64 should strive to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. This time of year it is hard to get the enthusiasm to get out of the house and get ourselves moving, but with the nights getting lighter, Spring is on the way, we need to brush off all that sluggish Winter feeling. Get our bodies moving and into shape before Summer arrives.
We could make a start at home:
- Go out for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner or both! Start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes
- Walk or bike to the local shops instead of driving, and park farther away at the shopping mall and walk the extra distance
- Work in the garden or mow the grass, rake leaves, prune, dig
- When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk and choose a hilly route
- When watching TV, sit up instead of lying on the sofa or better still spend a few minutes peddling on your exercise bike whilst watching the TV
- If you have a gaming system, choose active dance and sports games that track your movement
- Stand up and walk around while talking on the telephone
- Walk the dog
Housework is a good workout too! But as is the case with any workout, the more effort you put in, the greater the benefit. In particular, polishing, dusting, mopping and sweeping are great for keeping arms shapely. Bending and stretching, for example, when you make the bed, wash windows or do the laundry are good for toning thighs and improving flexibility and constantly running up and down the stairs as you tidy is a good aerobic workout
- Stretch to reach items in high places and squat or bend to look at items at floor level
- Keep exercise equipment repaired and use it!
What about when you go off to work:
You could always start by parking your car in the furthest part of the car park, that is if you need to drive there, if not you could maybe think about cycling or walking a couple of days a week
If you have a sitting down job, how about standing up for some of the time. And whether sitting or standing, good posture itself is probably one of the most effective core strengthening exercises, due to the amount of muscles required to stabilise the upper body when keeping the back straight and the tummy tight. Practicing good posture will usually alleviate lower back and neck pain. It will help you feel more confident and in control of yourself. Sitting and standing up straight will continually build strength in your abdominal and lower back muscles.
Did you know that standing up uses the core muscles which in turn activate a protective mechanism that lowers glucose, so by getting up on your feet every 30 minutes or so when you are sitting at work you could be reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Recent research on women showed that just standing up form five minutes every half hour lowered blood sugar levels by 30%!
- Take the stairs or walk up the escalator, avoid the elevators
- On a long phone call? If possible walk around whilst talking
- Skip instant messaging and email, and instead walk to a colleagues desk for a face to face chat
Don’t eat your lunch at your desk, take a brisk walk outside and do some gentle stretching, the fresh air will do you good and so will the walk. If possible get your colleagues to join you, you can hold each other accountable for regular exercise — and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough
So by making some minor adjustments to your daily routines, you’ll soon see some improvements to your flexibility and general wellbeing. Before you know it you’ll be working towards your 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical exercise a week.