Every step counts
Humans were designed to move. It’s good for our bodies, it’s good for our hearts and it’s fantastic for our mental health. But in our fast-paced world, we’re not moving nearly as much as we should be. According to the British Heart Foundation Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report 2017, 39% of adults in the UK don’t meet physical activity recommendations, and as many as 13 million people aren’t active at all.
Although exercise can reduce your risk of disease, depression and help to manage stress, we’ve phased it out of our lives through technology, easy transport and office jobs. Dr Rangan Chatterjee (author of The Stress Solution) says that up to 80% of all GP consultations are related to stress nowadays – partly because we’re not nearly active enough.
Here are five easy ways to increase your activity levels on a day-to-day basis.
- Morning exercise – if your routine allows, get up and move first thing, preferably outside so you can expose your body to some natural daylight.
- Commute – If you drive to work or sit on public transport, take a moment to think about how you could incorporate some movement. Could you park the car somewhere further away from work and walk some of the way? Or could you get off the train or bus earlier and walk the rest?
- Break every 50 minutes – when you get to work, set a timer to go off every 50 minutes to encourage you to take a break and stretch your legs. If you can, consider going outside for some fresh air and daylight.
- Shoulder rolls – unravel yourself from that hunched up position sat at your desk. Roll the shoulders backwards 10 times at least four times a day to help combat sitting-related tension in the shoulders.
- Lunchtime walk – head out at lunch on a walk with colleagues to download or by yourself if you need some time to reflect.
Ultimately finding the time to get out and move more doesn’t need to be as hard as we think it does. From walking meetings to lunchtime yoga classes, you just need to find a way to make it work for you. And don’t forget the handy ’11 Minute Challenges’ that we are serving up to you each week… you can surely fit just 8 minutes of movement (and 3 minutes of mindfulness) into your busy day… and you will feel so much better for it as a result!
If you need a helping hand, tell some friends and family members about your goals and see if they can help to motivate you to get more active.