In today’s society everything is going fast and time has become a precious commodity. Getting up early, getting ready quickly, running to and from work, picking up kids and/or doing the weekly shopping, rushing home, preparing dinner and getting things ready for the next day. Sometime late the housework has to be done in order to recommence the same routine the next morning. If children are part of the family, the timing gets even more intense and things that are considered to be superfluous have to be eliminated from the daily routine.
Unfortunately, working out is often considered as one of the first things that can be left aside as soon as our days start being ruled by stress and a lack of time. However, people often forget that moving does not necessarily mean intense work out where you spend hours in the gym, sweating and outdoing yourself. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least 5 times a week in order to prevent obesity and to obtain benefits for one’s health. This does not sound like a lot, unfortunately many people do not manage to achieve this goal due to reasons such as lack of time, not liking sports or simply not thinking about it.
It is crucial to highlight the fact that physical activity does not (necessarily) mean doing sports. Often it is the term “sports” that puts people off leading a more active lifestyle – they do not like to sweat or to go to the gym; therefore they consider that they are not made for physical activity. It is, however, not about sweating and being completely wrecked after working out. On the contrary, by introducing small changes to one’s daily routine, one can easily achieve the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. It is all about reducing sedentary time as a first step to leading a healthier lifestyle.
Here are some tips on how to make physical activity part of your life without changing what you do:
- Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to work or home. When taking the car to work, look for a parking lot a bit further away from work so you can add a few minutes of brisk walk to and from the office.
- During your lunch break, go for a walk around the building and ask your friends to join you.
- Schedule sports in your calendar like any other appointment – that way you are sure to have the time slot available for yourself.
- Stand up and walk around while talking on the telephone.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator.
- Walk to the supermarket/dry-cleaning/hairdresser’s/pharmacy/etc. In short, try to walk as soon as things are within walking distance.
- Doing your housework is a great way to be physically active – think about it the next time you clean the windows or hoover the house.
- On weekends, go for a walk with the whole family. Also, the playground is a great place to exercise – not only for kids!
- Find a type of sports you enjoy – no matter if it’s a group sport (basketball, dancing, tennis, etc.) or an individual sport (running, swimming, biking, etc.) and join a club where you frequently meet. Knowing that friends and/or people you know will be there is highly motivating in order to return there regularly (or more often per week).
- If you don’t like clubs or group sports, meet up with friends and organize walks yourself!
As you can see, there are plenty of possibilities for working out. The important thing is to enjoy it and to be sure to do it on a regular basis. Start slowly and set yourself feasible goals in order to motivate yourself. Best thing is to find others to join you in your activity – the more the merrier and it gives you a reason to return!
Martina Berthoux – MammaFit mum