Posted on: 22 September 2021
Today is National Fitness Day! Physical activity is vital for helping us lead healthier lifestyles, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here are five easy ways to build activity into daily life.
1. What’s my motivation?
Before you start anything new you have to want to actually start! Examine your reasons:
- Do I want to improve my health and feel better day to day? For example, feeling less out of breath when climbing stairs.
- Is it important to set a good example for my kids?
- Do I need to feel less stressed and sleep better?
- Do I want to improve my confidence?
- Do I want to have fun and use exercise as part of my social life?
Maybe it’s all of the above - but make sure you write down your motivations to refer to when you are tired and feel like giving up.
2. Get on up
Many of us sit for long periods throughout the day: watching TV, working at a desk, or behind the wheel. Sitting for hours at a time is bad for us, so set reminders on your phone to get up and move around, even if it’s just for five minutes in every hour.
Set an alarm and walk up and down the stairs, skip with a rope, or walk around the block – anything to get your heart pumping and muscles working.
3. Pick up the pace
Walking is a great way to stay fit, but you don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill. Just going for a 15 minute walk every day will contribute to health, make your joints feel better, and loosen you up.
Turn your focus to pace to gain maximum benefits. Several studies have shown the benefits of a faster pace, with one showing that it’s associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Aim for at least 100 steps per minute – match the beat of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive to hit the target!
4. Peer pressure
Being open about your fitness journey will help keep you accountable. Your network of family members and friends can offer support - share your progress weekly and ask them to encourage you if you slack!
Having a workout buddy means you can encourage each other when the going gets tough. Also, it’s much harder to cancel a workout if you know you’re letting someone down.
If you have kids, why not get them involved? Running around in the garden or the park, playing catch, riding bikes, dancing, or going for a walk are all fun activities for adults and children. It’s a great way for them to burn off energy, as well as being lots of fun.
5. Swap caffeine for movement
As well as being good for you, moving around can also combat that afternoon energy slump. Movement can be as effective as caffeine at improving concentration and focus. The only source of energy your brain can use is glucose (sugar), which is carried in your blood alongside oxygen. Walking around gets blood flowing to your brain, boosting energy levels and alertness.
To read more about getting active, check out our guide to Exercising for Beginners.