As we enter the Post Christmas period many of us begin thinking about getting fit in the New Year. We all know that exercise is important for a healthy heart, joints and generally keeping us fit. However, with the best will in the world, many of us find excuses, ‘I’m too busy… the gym is too expensive… I’m too tired’. But what if exercise didn’t take so much extra time, money or commitment? Below are some ideas to help you more easily integrate exercise into your daily life.
- Walk at work
If you have a desk-based job, try to make the effort to walk over to talk to people you need to speak to, instead of always sending an email or calling them. As an added bonus this is good for networking and relationship-building as well. You can also take a stroll at lunchtime.
- Cycle to work
If you can, consider cycling to work and give you a good daily workout. It is also better for the environment – even if you do it just twice a week. You may also be able to get a tax break on a new bicycle through the government’s cycle to work scheme. Tip: try doing the route on a weekend when you are not in a rush so you know where you are going.
- Take the stairs
Try to take the stairs instead of using the lift. This is a no-brainer and takes pretty much the same amount of time. If you are really going for it you could try running up some of the stairs! Tip: if you have painful knees or arthritis, going downstairs is often worse for you than going upstairs. Listen to your body and stop if it makes your pain worse.
- Borrow a dog
This is not a joke! Ask a friend who has a dog or look at BorrowMyDoggy.com which matches 1000s of dog owners throughout the UK with ‘borrowers’ who can take their dogs for “walkies” once or twice a week, or even have a doggy to stay. So you get all the fun of a pet without the commitments, and what better way to go for regular walks.
- Go on an ‘active’ date or night out
Instead of going for the old haunts which involve sitting down all evening such as a pub, restaurant or cinema, why not occasionally get active and do something different? Find something you and your significant other both enjoy or try something new. Here are a few suggestions: swim and sauna, walk to a restaurant you’ve never visited, go out and learn to dance or go just go dancing.
- Exercise for fun with others
Why not try a Zumba or Pilates class? They can be fun and very social occasions. If you have children and the kids do sports classes, use that half an hour to get fit yourself. If you are watching them play from the touchline you could jog or walk round the edge. Some organisations such as Kids Run Free involve parents in their races.
- Go for walks with family or friends
It’s a fun way to exercise and help get your 10,000 steps per day and spend some quality time together and see new places. You could even start an informal walking group with friends. There are lots of suggestions for walks at in Kent at www.walkinginkent.co.uk