Spring is almost upon us and with it will come rejuvenation. Many of us make New Years resolutions and I wonder how many of you committed to doing more exercise in 2019 and I wonder how you are faring as we enter the last days of February.
Multiple studies involving thousands of people have shown that exercise on a frequent basis protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, falls. It can improve memory, cognitive function and improve mood. The current recommendations are for at least 30 mins of moderate activity on 5 days of the week. These activities can include cycling, swimming , brisk walking – anything that gets you up and moving.
Many people equate exercise with going to the gym and for many other people 30 mins is hard to come by in our busy lives when you have too many things to do and not enough time. Whilst attending the gym is an excellent way to get fit there are some adjustments you can make to your daily life to ensure you are more active and strengthen your body.
1 Always take the stairs
It is effectively free exercise.
2 Walk more
Running a mile burns 112 calories , brisk walking the same distance burns 88 calories. A simple way to increase the amount walked is to get a pedometer/use function on your phone and count your steps. Aim for 10,000 per day.
3 Stand up more
Research shows that standing up and walking around for 2 mins every 30 mins has a host of benefits for core strength and blood pressure. Prolonged sitting is not good for us.
4 Sit on floor to watch TV
Sounds a bit silly but has multiple benefits. Modern couches are too comfortable. Sitting on floor means you will move, try to get comfortable and simply getting up and down is good exercise.
Squatting is excellent exercise. Many cultures in the world with long life expectancies sleep on floor, eat on floor and spend a lot of their day squatting. Aim for 10 mins per day but if that too much you can just squat for a minute when waiting for kettle to boil.
Another really simple exercise with fantastic benefits. Can start with 1 push up per day and increase by 1 per day.
Another way of doing them is to find how many you can do comfortably (full push up chest to floor) and then divide that by 4. Now do that number every minute for 10 minutes and you have just completed a simple resistance exercise for 10 mins.
A recent study of middle aged men showed that men who could do 40 pushups in a minute were 96% less likely to have a heart attack than men who could do less than 10 pushups when followed for 10 years.
7 Go through life with more physical effort
We have been conditioned to think that saving effort is a good thing. However this is not the case when it comes to physical activity. Exercise doesn’t require lycra or fancy shoes – we can get it in our daily lives by moving around regularly.
It goes without saying that the above advice is aimed at those capable of performing said exercises. Due to pre-existing health issues some people may not be able to do some of those mentioned above and should consult with their GP or trainer about appropriate exercises for them.
Link to National Guidelines