How can I add more exercise to my day?
Bored of being told to join a gym or walk during your lunch break in order to exercise more? Well, not to worry, today I am looking at some more exciting tips to help you stay active, including:
- Trying a fitness app
- Changing your commute
- Making it social
- Asking your employer for help
- Trying a personal trainer.
1. Try a fitness app
With a range of technology at our fingertips, it is easier to exercise now more than ever. By downloading an app like Strava, Map My Fitness or Freeletics on your phone or tablet, for example, you can access a range of helpful features such as:
- A pedometer
- Easy-to-follow workouts
- A heart rate monitor
- Nutritional support
- Personalised training advice
- A workout monitor
- The ability to book exercise classes
- Support from fellow exercise-goers!
These things aim to encourage and motivate you to exercise, thereby making it easier to do more. As well as all of these features, though, fitness apps mean that you can exercise wherever you are, at whatever times suits.
Travelling for work? Simply follow a fitness workout on your phone when you have some spare time. Spend long hours sitting down? Use an app to prompt you to move throughout the day. Whatever your schedule, fitness apps make it easier to fit exercise in.
2. Change your commute
The average UK worker will spend over a year of their life travelling to and from work, plus the average commute is an uncomfortable 56 minutes!1 Whilst this itself brings stress and expense, it also means we're spending an awfully long time sitting down, whether it's on the bus, in a car or on the train.
Cycling or walking to work is one way to combat these issues, whilst creating a more interesting commute at the same time. Alternatively, you could try walking or cycling for some of your journey, and then use public transport for the rest.
Within a few months, this added exercise can bring visible changes to strength, fitness, energy and even mood. Walking and cycling pumps more blood around the body, for example, meaning extra oxygen reaches the brain. This encourages the release of endorphins – our feel-good hormones.
3. Make it social!
Instead of heading to a café or restaurant next time you meet up with friends or family, get active by going out for a walk or cycle in your local park instead – just makes sure there's someone who knows the area who can lead the way!
If everyone's up for it, another option is to try an exercise class together. Training as a group helps to motivate people through a workout, plus there are a variety of classes to suit different fitness levels and interests. Dance classes, cardio-based workouts, indoor cycling, running classes and even rowing classes are just a few options that are rising in popularity.
If you want to take exercise a step further, joining a club or taking up a gym membership with a friend or family member can also keep up the motivation to exercise.
4. Ask your employer for help
When you're struggling to get enough exercise, perhaps as a result of a desk job or a busy schedule, you could consider asking your employer for help. One particularly good option to consider is a wellness program, including the likes of:
- A fitness day where all employees are allowed one afternoon a year to partake in physical activity. This could be one staff member leading a walk or run in a local park, or another leading an exercise class. If your company needs persuading, suggest that there are a couple of wellness afternoons so that everyone is not off at the same time, and ensure you do it at quieter times of the year.
- Access to a gym that employees can use in their lunch breaks or after work. This could be on-site, or at a local gym.
- Cycle-to-work and walk-to-work schemes.
- Visits from experts, including dieticians and personal trainers, who can provide guidance on nutrition and exercise.
Although companies are not legally obliged to provide such benefits, it is in their best interests to invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees. The measures listed above can, for example, help to improve productivity, reduce stress and improve morale.
So, if your employer has a suggestion box, pop in one of the options above and see if they can help you get more active!
5. Try a personal trainer
Personal trainers are available online, in health clubs, in some workplaces, and they can even pay you a visit at home! To get started they will test your fitness levels and then set goals and an exercise plan to help you improve.
This one-on-one training means you have a personalised (and realistic!) plan to suit your abilities and aims. If you'd like to keep it social, group PT sessions are becoming more popular too.
If this sounds like an option for you, speak to your local gym about arranging a trial.