From the moment we wake up in the morning to when we go to bed at night our daily schedules can be packed full, allowing minimal or sometimes no time to save for exercise. Its these times in our lives that we need to look towards alternative methods of keeping our activity levels up.

Our health and fitness is often what suffers when we have a busy lifestyle so careful planning and some smarter decisions within our day to day routines are essential. Our health is extremely important so we should not let it suffer even when life can become overwhelming. Finding the time to head to the gym for an hour a day is often classed as a luxury, and isn’t always possible, so let’s take a look at some other ways we can stay active.

Lets get moving:

Walking – Going for a walk requires very little, just that small amount of extra motivation to encourage us to do so. Going for a moderate walk puts little stress on the body, requires no gym equipment and it can be done pretty much anywhere. Here are some ways you could add those extra steps into your lifestyle

  • Utilising your lunch breaks – Often we can find ourselves becoming overwhelmed with the stresses of work, this can result in us rushing our lunch break to get work finished or even skipping lunch breaks completely. We may think that using this extra time to try to complete more work is helping us get more done, the chances are its probably having the opposite effect. The lack of break from work is likely to have a negative effect on our concentration levels, resulting in more periods of distraction during the working day. We are much better off utilising our full lunch break. Make sure we fuel our body with the right nutrition, stay hydrated, and why not slip in some easy exercise. Even just 10-20 minutes walking on our lunch break will provide us with a change of scenery from what can be a stressful environment at work, this can help to give our mind a rest resulting in better mental performance when you return to work. Other benefits include some fresh air (weather permitting), increased metabolism and calories burnt, and gets our body moving which is great if we have a sedentary job.
  • Replace your coffee break with a walk – on the occasions that walking on our lunch break isn’t possible why not utilise those smaller coffee breaks we have during the day. Just 5/10 minutes walking in the fresh air can be the boost our body needs to increase our energy levels without rushing for the caffeine. Sometimes we find a good cup of coffee is needed, just remember a portable coffee flask can be taken on a walk as well.
  • Set that morning alarm a little earlier – Not always the decision we want to make but an earlier alarm will give us the opportunity to start the day with some exercise. A brisk walk in the morning will help to kick start our metabolism and give us the early morning wake up we often need.
  • Free time at the weekends – focussing on having more active days off is a great way to help to increase exercise. Usually we have more free time on our days off so why not look ahead and plan a walk with some friends. Even though we may want to rest on our days off, exercising can help us feel more energized in can contribute to a better night’s sleep.

Desk/workplace workouts – Desk and workplace workouts are a great way of bringing some fun and exercise into our work environment, we can get our colleagues involved and help to increase their activity levels as well. These workouts can be done at a desk, in the staffroom or outside if the weather is nice.

Exercise in front of the TV – a workout in front of the TV is a great way to make sure we keep our exercise levels up and not miss out on our favourite TV shows at the same time. There are many workouts that can be completed at home and we can get our family involved as well.

Always take the stairs – another way we can increase our levels of activity is by making more active choices. Choosing the stairs over the lift is an easy way to increase the heart rate and is another step towards a more active day to day life.

Alternative ways to get around – here is some food for thought when it comes to choosing exercise over transport.

  • Is it possible for us to cycle or walk to work instead of driving or public transport? This will require some planning and our journey may be a little longer, but it will also be much more active. Many companies now offer a cycle to work scheme which will help contribute towards a bike if you do not have one already.
  • If we take public transport to work is it possible to get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
  • If the only way to get to work is by driving, can we park further away to ensure some extra steps before and after work. This can be done when we go to the shops as well, and we will have the added challenge of carrying our bags a longer distance back to the car.

Action:

Over the next 4 weeks, with help from the methods above, start to implement new routines in your day to day life to increase your activity levels. What is possible for one person to achieve may not be for the next person, so spend the time to trial different ways and highlight what works well for you. Once you have done so, make sure you stay consistent and cement this new form of activity into your day to day routine.