Conditions

Stop living a sedentary lifestyle - here's how!

  • 24 Jul, 2018
  • Prescription Doctor

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the cruxes of modern living. For many, a busy work or personal life leaves little time for exercise. But breaking this habit and moving more isn't as difficult as you might think.

The weekly recommendation for adults is 150 minutes of exercise a week. This equates to approximately 20 minutes of exercise a day. However, this doesn't mean that you need a gym membership or fitness equipment to achieve an effective workout. There are many simple ways you can mix activity with your day to day duties.

Commute:

If you don't live far from work, try walking or cycling to work rather than driving or using public transport. Cycling is a great way to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health. A brisk 20 minute walk to work can constitute as a moderate aerobic activity. The easiest way to determine whether you are giving your body the necessary workout is to talk or sing while walking. If you find it slightly more challenging to converse or sing while moving, you are doing it right.

If you have to catch public transport, such as a bus, you can get off the stop before or after your destination and walk the rest of the way.

On average, bus stops in the UK are 400 meters apart from one another. So, if the average adult walks 1.4m/s, you can expect it to take about 5 minutes to walk between two stops. Do this twice a day - 5 minutes of extra time commuting to and from work - and you've already packed in half of your recommended daily exercise.

At work:

Instead of texting, calling or emailing a colleague, get up and walk over to their desk to discuss your ideas in person. If this is absolutely not an option - which it may be the case for remote workers - walking around whilst on the phone can have a positive impact also.

Studies have shown that pacing while talking can help improve verbal articulation and encourage creative thinking. This is because the activity of walking increases the blood flow to the brain, improving your cognitive ability. Consider taking a walk around the block instead of having your lunch at your desk, or take a business meeting outside to walk and talk.

You could consider a standing or treadmill desk to become more active while you work, though this isn't always possible. However, there are plenty of simple exercises you can do at work.

At home:

Working out in the comfort of your own home doesn't have to cost money or even a particularly long time.

If you are watching TV in the evening, try getting up and moving during the adverts. There are plenty of small and simple exercises you can try such as:

  • lunges

  • push-ups

  • planks

  • squats

  • bridges

During a 1 hour TV containing 4 breaks, you could get an extra 10 minutes worth of exercise (assuming that there are 3 minutes of adverts for every 12 minutes of show time).

Climbing and descending your stairs can provide a simple but effective workout. You could even use your stairs for step aerobics. Stand at the bottom and step on and off the bottom step in reps. For a more intense workout, bunny hop onto the step and then step off.

You could also try dancing to your favourite music. Dancing is a great aerobic exercise which gets your blood pumping fairly quickly. Even if you dance like a frog in a blender, the important thing to remember is that you are moving.

At weekends:

While most would agree that engaging in a sport like football, rugby or tennis is a great way to exercise, it's important to remember that not everyone is competitive or sporty. But this doesn't mean they can't get out and exercise over the weekend.

Swimming can offer a full body workout with a low risk of injury. Aquatic exercises are recommended for people with joint pain such as arthritis because the buoyancy of water lessens the strain on the affected joints. The hydrostatic pressure that is exerted upon your body causes your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, while the resistance of the water forces your muscles to work harder, even when doing simple movements.

Walking the dog or taking a romantic stroll through the park at sunset with your partner are viable exercises too. You don't have to walk at pace or even at length to reap the benefits, but a quiet walk during the evening can improve your circadian rhythm, improving your quality of sleep.

No matter how busy you are, there is always a way to fit in exercises to improve your general health and wellbeing.

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