The benefits of living an active life are well documented. Not only is exercise effective for weight management and increased energy but reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. It even improves moods and reduces symptoms of depression.
Everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, can find simple ways to be more active and yet, despite knowing these benefits, many people fail to maintain a regular exercise routine or quit shortly after getting started. For exercise to become a regular and sustainable part of your life, it needs to fit with your personality, lifestyle, personal preferences and goals.
The following tips will help you find simple ways to be more active so that you can reap the rewards of more energy, fitness, happiness and health.
Do you love to lift weights or prefer a hip-hop dance class? Are you a laid back yogi or prefer sweating it out in a spin class? No one said working out needs to be boring and, with literally dozens of options available, there is definitely something that will suit your personality. Find a workout that you can look forward to so that it doesn’t feel like a chore and mix things up regularly so that you don’t get bored.
Instead of catching up with a friend over coffee or drinks, try meeting for a walk, bike ride or bush hike. You’ll both get the benefits of being more active while being too busy chatting to notice you’re exercising. If you’re a bit more adventurous plan something fun and active like stand-up paddle boarding or twilight kayaking. A family outing might include a bike ride or a few laps around the roller skating rink. Combining social outings and activity is a fantastic way to boost endorphins and increase your commitment.
You might have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” due to the emerging research that prolonged sitting is seriously hazardous to our health and longevity. To counteract some of those risks, many people are opting for a standing desk or holding walking meetings. Rather than send an email to someone down the hall, try walking to give the message in person. Just remembering to get up and move around frequently or going for a walk at lunchtime will make a real difference.
In order to move more every day, try to find opportunities in your regular routine to include more activity. You might walk or cycle to the shops if you need to pick up a few things, walk your kids to school, take the stairs instead of the lift or park the car in the farthest parking spot from the door when you go to a shopping centre. If you’re really keen, you can even use ad breaks to bust out a few chair dips or squats or park your treadmill in front of the TV while you watch Netflix.
If you’re motivated by rewards, try downloading a daily tracking app or wearing a Fitbit or other fitness tracker so you can measure your daily activity. Eventually you want the activity itself to be all the reward you need but until it becomes part of your daily life, the external reward can help you keep moving. Being able to connect with friends on your Fitbit can also be a great motivator by adding a social element and a bit of fun competition.