Physical activity involves getting up and about and spending fewer hours sitting down. Some easy and practical ways of getting active and using more energy include:
- Walking the dog or going for a bike ride.
- Using the stairs instead of lifts and escalators.
- Shopping in the supermarket and walking home with the bags instead of shopping online.
- House work such as hanging the washing out and hoovering
- Cleaning the car.
Why should we be more active?
As well as having a possitive benfit to our general health, getting active can help to:
- Control your weight.
- Improve your mood.
- Reduce blood pressure.
- Improve blood Cholesterol levels
- Keep your heart and lungs healthy.
- Help maintain healthier joints and bones.
How active do we need to be?
- Average 60-70kg male and female.
The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 times a week. This is a total of 150 minutes a week and can be spread out over the week in manageable chunks.
- Over weight and obese adults.
For people who are overweight or obese it is recommended that 60 minutes of exercise should be done at least 5 times a week to enable the body to lose fat.
What type of exercise?
- Moderate levels of activity are exercises that involve a small increase in heart rate. You should still be able to have a chat but singing could prove to be difficult.
- Vigorous activity involves exercises that create a much greater increase in heart rate. Speaking would prove difficult and you will be breaking a sweat whilst carrying out the exercise.
Learn to love exercise
Remember every minute of activity counts towards improving your health and you are also never too old or unfit to start moving more. Once you find what you love doing you can carry it out in small chunks of your choice and then build up until 30 minutes becomes easier and easier.
Here are some ideas to help you build more activity into your life:
- Brisk walking (just fast walking) - for 30 minutes burns around 100 calories.
- Water aerobics - for 30 minutes 139 calories.
- Bicycling (at an average speed, not fast) - for 30 minutes burns around 160 calories.
- Light jogging for 30 minutes burns around 245 calories.
- Mowing the lawn for 30 minutes burns around 165 calories.
- Stomach crunches/sit ups for 10 minutes burns around 52 calories.
- Manual gardening for 30 minutes burns around 167 calories.
- Fast skipping- for 30 minutes burns around 302 calories.
- Aerobic dancing- for 30 minutes burns around 213 calories.
- Race walking, jogging or running- 30 minutes burns around 200-320 calories.
- Swimming laps- burns around 342 calories.
Exercise helps to build muscle which increases your fat burning potential.
Understanding your energy balance
Spending more time being active is a perfect way to balance the energy going in with the energy coming out.
Energy in = Energy consumed by food
Energy out= Energy used through physical activity.
The energy we consume needs to balance out with the energy that we use up in order to maintain a healthy body weight.
Finding your balance can be as simple as modifying your portion sizes and reduce your total energy intake which will closer match your total energy output. Changing a portion from large to moderate can save a lot of calories and significantly reduce your ‘energy in’
Simply try including one or two of the activity ideas listed above into your week to increase your ‘energy out’
Getting started and staying motivated
Keep a diary - This will help you keep on track of your day-to-day chores and enable you to slot in your physical activity for a certain time in the day. It could be as simple as changing a drive to the post office into a walk or jog. Once you have completed the activity, give it a tick in the diary.
Set yourself goals - Setting goals help to stay motivated and feel a sense of achievement. An example of a goal could be;
"I will walk to the train station rather than getting the bus on at least three days over the next week!"
"I will go for a 30 minute brisk walk once a week for the next month."
Make this a goal - Climbing 100 steps burns around 25 calorie. If you, do this everyday for 2 weeks you can burn 250 extra calories. That is equivalent to 30 minutes of running.
Make it your hobby - When you find something you love, make it your own. Set yourself challenges and get friends and family involved!
Incorporating activity into your daily routine is what makes being active fun- you can burn calories without even realising. It is easier than you think.
Start by doing small amounts at a time so it is easy to fit into your lifestyle. Remember small amounts of exercise can enhance your overall wellbeing, it can improve your mood and sleep, as well as keeping you energised and ready for more. Start now.