This blog is going to attempt to encourage you all to add a little bit more exercise into your life. Firstly, I would like you to answer the following questions.
In 1 week, are you doing either;
· 150 minutes (e.g. 5 x 30 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise, whereby you get warm, your heart beats faster, you breath harder)?
· 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, whereby you are out of breath so it difficult to carry out a conversation?
Carrying out muscle strengthening twice a week?
Minimising the amount of time you sit sedentary?
If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above, then you aren’t complying with the recommendations set by The (UK) Department of Health (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213740/dh_128145.pdf).
These guidelines have been set for the public because the benefits of daily exercise are multi-faceted and are not only to do with assisting in maintaining a healthy weight and building body strength. In fact, exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and liver disease amongst others, and psychological benefits of regular exercise have been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, whilst increasing self-esteem.
So, now you know the benefits of exercise, how can you start integrating it into your life? Whenever I suggest increased exercise levels to my patients, a common answer is “but I just DON’T have time”. And my answer is always “you DO have time. It’s just how you prioritise that time”.
Here’s some tips to help add in little bits of exercise throughout your day;
If you drive regularly, park your car a little further away from your final destination.
Always take the stairs rather than the lift.
Rather than eat lunch at your desk, go for a walk to buy your lunch or do an errand.
Keep a pair of trainers at work so that you can’t blame inadequate footwear for lack of walking.
Overall, walking is one of the easiest ways to fit in daily general exercise. The use of a fitness device type watch will count your steps and allow you to work towards a specific goal of e.g. 10,000 steps per day. I started wearing a Garmin watch (www.garmin.com) last summer and it buzzes at me if I have been sitting sedentary for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Yes, this can be extremely irritating when I am engrossed in some work, but I also do find it very helpful and it reminds me to stretch my legs and go for a little wander.
If you prefer something a little more vigorous than walking, there are local schemes running all around the country to try and help encourage people to partake in more exercise. An example of this is Parkrun (www.parkrun.org.uk). This is a fabulous scheme which encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to come along to their local park weekly for a timed, free 5k run.
‘This Girl Can’ is another scheme supported by Sport England. Their goal is to encourage more woman to get involved in sport, without the fear of judgement, which is currently stopping girls and woman getting involved (www.thisgirlcan.co.uk).
I’m going to end with a couple of quotes which I saw in a tweet a while ago, which stuck with me.
‘Exercise is a miracle drug which prolongs life, improves quality of life and is free’.
‘Prescribe exercise, it’s the best medicine.’