Being active is great for our physical health and fitness, and research shows it’s great for our mental wellbeing too. Often though, with family life and work commitments, fitting a little exercise into our routine can be a juggling act - with last minute work deadlines, football practice, piano lessons and doctor’s appointments.
The importance of regular exercise has never been so apparent, with overwhelming evidence showing that people with active lifestyles are less likely to suffer from illness and are more likely to live longer. On top of this, regular exercise can help improve brain function, reduce some of the effects of ageing and also help people sleep better.
With this in mind, we’ve included a few tips on how to incorporate physical activity into your everyday life.
1 – Find five minutes every day
Whether it is five minutes less surfing on the web, or getting up five minutes earlier in the morning, finding a few minutes for exercise is possible. Completed every day and that is 35 minutes of exercise per week!
To make the most of your minutes, look to find exercises that are short bursts but high intensity, to maximise the effectiveness of your workout.
If you are struggling to come up with a quick fire routine yourself, there are plenty of workout DVDs on the market, which are designed with quick fire rounds of high intensity exercise. Mother of three and TV presenter Davina McCall has a range of exercise DVDs which contain high intensity work outs, as well as having a pre and post-natal DVD, for a gentler approach back into exercise for new mums.
2 – Turn housework into exercise
Housework - it’s an unfortunate job which must be done! Why not utilise the time you spend cleaning the house by exercising at the same time? You could do some toning exercises when dusting the bottom shelves or even loading the dishwasher? Or if you don’t have a dishwasher, when you are washing the dishes you could be doing calf raises? A few lunges in-between ironing each shirt is great too, or doing some abdominal twists when completing the hoovering. Try planning your housework so you are moving around the house; start maybe by making the beds upstairs, then head downstairs and hoover the lounge, then back upstairs to clean the bathroom? You would be amazed at how many calories you can burn by incorporating these exercises into your housework chores!
3- Be an energetic TV viewer
While you are watching your favourite soap of an evening, there are lots of simple exercises you can complete. The squat/ab challenge is great, especially if you have a limited space, and kettlebells are very easy to use.
4 – Make activities active
Planning and spending time with your friends and family is important. Why not look to find an activity or class that you can all do together that is active? During the summer months, a walk and picnic in the park is great, or taking a couples dance classes or sports classes if the weather is a little grey. There are also a few simple activities too, like going on a bike ride or walking the dog; keeping you and your family healthy while spending some great time together.
5 – Keep moving at work
If you work in an office, it is likely that you are sat at your desk for the majority of your working day. Why not head outside on your break and have a 15 minute walk? Bring some colleagues along too, so you are then still socialising while having a brisk walk? Also, why not try to take the stairs rather than the elevator? Even if you are in a tall office block where walking to your floor would take too long, why not set yourself a challenge to walk the first 10 levels before jumping in the lift?
Most importantly – make whatever you do fun!
Ultimately, it does come down to enjoyment. If you are enjoying the exercise you are able to do, you will continue to incorporate it into your everyday life in the best format that works for you and your family.