Although it can sometimes seem impossible to fit any activity into your day, there are many simple things you can do to increase your daily activity level. Research has shown that chores such as do-it-yourself projects, housework, gardening and walking upstairs can all lead to a healthier body.
The table below shows some activities and how many points you earn for doing each activity for one minute. The more points you earn the better, but you should aim for at least 30 points each day.
Cleaning house 1 Running upstairs 3
Cycling, leisurely pace (14mph) 3 Walking, brisk 1
Dancing, general 1 Walking upstairs 2
Golf, carrying clubs 1 Walking downstairs 1
Jogging 2 Walk/run with children, moderate 1
Running, light (10 min mile/6mph) 2 Weight/ resistance training 1
Running, vigorous (7 min mile/8.6mph) 3 Yoga (Astanga) 1
There are many other ways to fit activity into your day. Try some of the following – if you have a family, numbers 9-13 may be more applicable.
Instead of taking the elevator or standing on escalators, walk up and down the stairs.
Take a break and walk around the office every hour. This will also help improve stress levels and concentration.
Go for a 10-20 minute brisk walk at lunchtime.
Try a different restaurant at lunch that is further away or take a route that you know.
On the way to and from work, try to get off the train or bus a stop before your normal one so you have to walk further. Or walk to and from the station and home instead of driving or getting a ride.
Cycle to work. Make sure you have a road-worthy bike, a helmet, reflective and bright clothing, and know the way!
Maximize your free time at the weekends taking long brisk walks, cycling, jogging, or going swimming. The greater the pace, the greater the number of points!
Consider getting up half an hour earlier and exercising before work.
Exercise at lunchtime.
If you have small children and like to run, buy a baby jogger.
Turn off the TV and play with the kids.
Go swimming with your children, making sure you swim some lengths.
Plan family outings such as walking in a park, or skating at an ice rink.
If you take your kids to play football or cub scouts or brownies, go for a jog/walk while you wait for them.
Exercise and being active has many positive effects on your health & well-being, both physical and psychological. It can help improve your general health and make you more able to cope with pressure.
So, what are you waiting for? Get active now!
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services.
Your guide to physical activity and your heart. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.