It’s a daunting prospect, getting active, especially if you haven’t done it for a while.
And you’re not alone – research has shown that, in 2012, 32% of adults in Durham were classed as inactive (doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week).
When you think that the Chief Medical Officer recommends we should do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, it’s clear we’re falling far short.
Most of us know the benefits – exercise can reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%, as well as boosting your mental health with the endorphin rush – but doing something about it is a different matter.
If exercise with a capital E isn’t for you, that’s fine. There are plenty of ways to up your activity levels without enrolling in a gym or taking up a sport – every little helps and, let’s face it, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Here at Active Durham, our aim is to help everyone Start, Stay and Succeed in their attempts to be more active, and we’ve pulled together some handy tips to help you get moving – with not a lunge or a crunch in sight.
Doing a few chores is an easy way to boost your activity levels, and the end result is a fitter you and a cleaner house – it’s a win-win situation.
For instance, vacuuming burns 119 calories in 30 minutes, cleaning windows uses 167 and scrubbing the bath burns a whopping 90 calories in just 15 minutes. Even cooking meals from scratch rather than reaching for the freezer helps – all that chopping and lifting heavy pans makes for an excellent arm workout.
Getting out in the garden is another great way to build a bit of activity into your life. Simply watering the plants will burn 61 calories in half an hour, while mowing the lawn burns a fantastic 243.
Being out in the sunshine (or daylight at least – let’s not get carried away) will also boost your levels of vitamin D, and once you’re finished, you can reward yourself with a cold drink and admire your handiwork.
If you’re stuck at work all day, the thought of exercising when you get home is distinctly unappealing, so another simple idea is to work a bit of activity into your daily routine.
Take the stairs instead of the lift – every stair climbed burns 0.17 calories, which soon adds up, especially if you work on the fifth floor. Or park a bit further away from the office and walk the rest of the way – the fresh air is an added bonus.
Better still, ditch the car altogether and walk all the way (within reason) – not only will you be really upping your activity game, but you’ll boost your green credentials too.
Parenting is hard work, but, if you’re looking to get fit, use it to your advantage. From playing outdoor games (104 calories per half-hour) to walking while pushing a pram (78 calories), it’s difficult to be inactive with a toddler.
And if your little one is having an off-day, that’s even better – carrying a two-stone child who refuses to walk burns 109 calories per hour, and even mopping up the inevitable spills burns 44 in 10 minutes.
If that’s not enough to motivate you, remember that all this activity might, just might, help your little cherub sleep all night in their own bed – well, anything’s worth a try!
Other ideas include making a habit of going for a stroll after dinner, doing a few calf raises while cleaning your teeth or using a basket as opposed to a trolley when grocery shopping.
Adding just a few of these activities into your routine could be just the way to start being more active, stay motivated, and succeed in your goal of a healthier you.