It’s suprising how adding a small amount of physical activity to your daily routine can work wonders for both your physical and mental health. Being more active can help boost your confidence and give you more energy, as well as helping to lift your mood, reduce stress, clear your head and help you sleep better. It’s great for your long term health too, as it helps to reduce your risk of health issues like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other serious illnesses.
Even if you’re not keen on the idea of ‘exercise’, it’s often a lot easier than you first think. There are lots of ways that you can fit being active into a busy routine, for example walking more and reducing the number of hours you spend sitting down (at work, watching TV or playing computer games) can help you become more active and feel good.
Tips for being more active
Every little bit helps
It’s all too easy to start thinking about ‘going to the gym’, ‘running marathons’ and all that sort of stuff. But the truth is being active can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it gets your heart beating a bit faster and makes you breathe a bit harder, it counts. Walking, swimming, cycling and gardening – they all count!
If you’re not very active at the moment, it’s easier to start small and build slowly – aim to do at least 10 minutes of activity where you can. Then try working towards doing 10 minutes or more 3 or 4 days a week. When you feel comfortable, work your way up to doing half an hour or more on 5 days each week (or 2 and a half hours across a week if you prefer). Children need to be more active – under 5s should be active for at least 3 hours every day and 5 to 18 year olds need at least one hour every day.
Knowing you're doing enough
A good way to see if you’re doing enough is to try and sing a song whilst you’re doing an activity – if you can talk but find it difficult to sing then you’re being active.
If you’re looking for a free, easy way to begin being more active, walking more is a great place to start. Walking lets you enjoy all the benefits of healthy aerobic exercise, without putting pressure on your joints or pushing yourself too hard. There’s also the added bonus that you can get a friend to come with you for a chat or have a little me time away from all stresses of modern life, and maybe take in some nice scenery too. This will help you to feel good!
Take the stairs instead of the lift or get on the bus a stop later or get off a stop earlier. Make good habits part of your daily routine – whether walking part of your journey to work, to the shops, or to school or taking a 10 minute walk after your lunch to help digest your meal and keep you alert. It’s a good way to break up your day especially if you spend all day at home or sitting behind a desk. You will also be helping to reduce air pollution if you leave the car behind!
Find out more…
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