21 ways to be more active - start today!
It's recommended we all fit at least 30 minutes of activity into our day – this could be anything from walking to gardening. However guidelines also recommend that we should try to make a minimum of 75 minutes vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes moderate aerobic activity part of our regular weekly workout routine (1).
We get it; you're busy. But you're also committed to a fit, healthy lifestyle, or you wouldn't be here right now. We know that sometimes keeping active can be a challenge, particularly when your favourite show is on TV or your friends are at the pub and all you want to do is relax. Other things can get in the way of staying active too, like a hectic work schedule, back or shoulder pain or even just getting older.
Luckily there are plenty of ways to be more active – not all of them involve gym membership at the latest club or hanging off rock faces and doing death defying trampoline moves. These are easy, little changes you can make to your lifestyle today, that will help you to be more active; you'll quickly find that the more active you are, the more you crave active pursuits such as walking and cycling. Let's get started!
#1. Walk to work
This is the single biggest change you can make to your daily routine, and it works no matter where your place of employment is. You might be thinking, 'My work is too far away!' but there are ways you can adapt this to work for you. Instead of walking the whole way to work, get off the bus or train a few stops early and enjoy walking the last 15-30 minutes; make sure you wear comfortable shoes and wrap up cosy in the winter months! Just this simple change every day could mean you're getting up to an hour of exercise, walking to and from work.
#2. Get on your bike
If walking doesn't appeal, invest in a bike and cycle to the places you would normally drive to. Cycling is not only a great way to burn calories, it tones your bottom and legs and gives you a boost of endorphins, guaranteed to leave you feeling happier!
#3. Shop further from home
Are you guilty of shopping at a supermarket just seconds from your home or work, or getting in the car and driving to a superstore with convenient parking? Change the way you shop and take a walk to a store a little further away. Walking back with bags of groceries is a great arm workout!
#4. Exercise at your desk
If you're guilty of being overloaded at work, you're probably thinking you have no time to exercise. Even the busiest person has 20 minutes for lunch, so get up from your desk and carry out some lunchtime workouts that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to beat the 3pm slump.
#5. Enjoy a lunchtime exercise class
If you have a little longer for lunch, try a lunchtime workout. Something vigorous such as trampoline fitness will get your endorphins flowing and heart rate pumping, or choose yoga or pilates for a more relaxing experience.
#6. Get a dog
Now we're not suggesting you get a dog JUST so you can exercise more, but if you were thinking about it, this is an added bonus! Walking the dog, or running at the park with your dog everyday is a great way to get fit and meet other people.
#7. Join a running club
If you think running isn't for you, it could just be that you need a fitness buddy. Joining a running club means you'll be signed up to regular runs, and you'll be motivated to compete with other runners taking part, which could help you to be more active.
#8. Invest in some home gym equipment
If the idea of going to the gym doesn't appeal, or if you don't live near a gym, investing in some affordable home gym equipment, such as a medicine ball or resistance bands, can help motivate you to work out at home. Why not try some of our free workouts?
#9. Stick to a routine
Exercising at the same time every day means you'll start to look forward to it. So set aside half an hour after work everyday where you'll go for a walk, do some pilates or run in the park. You'll soon get the hang of it!
#10. Try the Couch Core Workout
Our Couch Core workout is perfect if you can't decide between being active and the next episode of The Walking Dead. You can enjoy your show, and workout at the same time! This works your core, quads, triceps, lower abs, upper abs, lateral abs and glutes. Brilliant!
#11. Eat more healthily
It might sound odd, but trust us when we say eating a bag of Doritos won't inspire you to be more active. Eating a healthy diet packed with fruit and vegetables gives you the energy you need to want to be more active – so suddenly an evening of exercise sounds appealing compared to slumping on the couch.
#12. Try walking meetings
If you're in a job where you seem to go from one meeting to the next, or if you work from home and your only 'out of office' time is going to and from meetings, why not try a walking meeting? Meeting outside and discussing ideas or brainstorming as you go can be a great way to boost creativity – it may not work for all clients, but many will enjoy the chance to get some fresh air. Just keep your pace slow enough so that you can still talk!
#13. Take an after-dinner walk
If you're too exhausted to face the gym on weeknights, heading out for an after-dinner walk or jog is a great habit to get into. Walking can be just as good a workout as running, and being active after your evening meal can help your digestion. After a large meal, walking, even for a little as 15 minutes, can speed up digestion and improve your blood sugar levels (2), which can particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or anyone with a fairly sedentary day job.
#14. Enjoy active social adventures
Are you guilty of always meeting your friends at the pub, going to the cinema or having movie nights at each others houses? Whilst nights out drinking might be fun, imagine if you could socialise AND get fit? Schedule days to go bouldering, hiking, bungee jumping, or even grab a fitness buddy and take up running. There are loads of new activities you could try, and taking a friend along just makes it even more of an adventure.
#15. Take up gardening
Gardening is a great activity that can burn calories and boost your flexibility – it's not just for older people either! Why not start your own vegetable patch, where you can grow herbs and vegetables for use in all our delicious recipes?
#16. Try some gentle stretches
Stretching is important not just before exercise, but at any time of day. It can help to improve your flexibility, relax your muscles, prevent aches and pains and alleviate back ache. Stretching whilst sitting at your desk is important, so make sure you take regular breaks at work.
#17. Join a team
Signing up for a sports team is a great way to be more active. If you pick a sport you love, you'll get to play it regularly whilst also meeting new people, building self-esteem and enjoying some healthy competition. You'll also become fitter and healthier whilst giving yourself a challenge – win!
#18. Use technology to your advantage
We're surrounded by technology which can help us track our activity levels, so make use of it. Buy a pedometer and wear it everyday, or invest in an app such as The Walk, which 'rewards' you for walking with snippets of a story, to motivate you.
#19. Take on practical projects in your spare time
DIY is a great way to keep active, whether you're putting together flat-pack Ikea furniture or doing something a little more technical. Not only are you burning calories and improving your strength, you're engaging your brain and taking part in something which will give you a sense of achievement, essential for happiness.
#20. Plan weekends outdoors
It can be easy to spend weekends indoors, relaxing and catching up on your favourite TV shows or gaming with friends, but make plans to head outdoors, even if it is cold out there! Mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, or even going to an outdoor adventure centre for the day are all great ways to boost your energy levels and your mood. Plan a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal for the evening and after a day outside, you'll really look forward to it.
#21. Take the stairs
We finish with a tip that may sound obvious – avoid lifts and take the stairs, at work, at home, wherever you are. Just a few flights boosts your metabolism and works your glutes, hamstrings and quads, giving you an instant boost of energy to get you through the day.
We'd love to hear which of the above tips you'll be trying in a bid to be more active, so let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.
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