With an increase of sedentary jobs and screen-based entertainment; modern life has made it difficult for most of us to get enough exercise. Rather than getting our recommended dose of physical activity per week, we end up hunching over our computers for hours or staring at our smartphones on the morning commute. In turn, our health inevitably pays the price — prolonged inactivity and periods of sitting can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and back pain.
How much physical activity do you need?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. It is up to you how many days you want to exercise, but it is best to be active at least 3 days a week.
Setting aside time to hit the gym every day may seem difficult, but you can still get your daily dose of physical activity by incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Take a look at these simple steps.
Kick-start your day with an energy boost
A simple morning exercise routine can help you feel great all day, and it will only take a few minutes of your time. To prepare your body for the day, begin your morning with some stretching and strength training such as shoulder rolls, torso twists, toe touches, planks and sit-ups. Try this five-minute wake-up workout.
Active commuting to work
If you live near your workplace, why not walk or cycle to the office? Sure, you might have to set aside shower time and wake up half an hour earlier, but you’ll get to work feeling refreshed, invigorated and accomplished!
Stay active at work
If you sit at your desk for the majority of the day, think about simple actions you can take to make your days at work more active. Instead of taking the elevator, climb the stairs. Do desk stretches. Walk around every 30 minutes. An app or activity tracker can help you set reminders for moving throughout the day.
Walking is a great fitness activity. Make it a habit to take a daily walk with family members, friends, co-workers, or pets. Make use of your lunch breaks to go for a walk – a brisk walk boosts your metabolism by up to 15%. Regular walking can even lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 50%.
After a day’s work, the temptation to sprawl on the couch and watch TV is often strong; but this is your last chance of the day to burn some calories and make progress towards your physique goals — so don’t waste it. If you can’t hit the gym for a quick session before going home, try spending your evening doing some household chores. And when you are finally in front of the TV, try walking on the spot or doing crunches while you watch your favourite show for some added exercise!