We all know that moving more is the secret to looking, feeling and being healthier.
The UK's Chief Medical Officer has recommended that children and young people should aim to be active for 60 minutes each day and 150 minutes per week for adults, including pregnant women (that’s around 20-25 minutes each day). But for a lot of us it’s hard to fit those minutes into our busy lives, so here are some suggestions for 10 easy ways to up your physical activity to meet that 25 minute target.
1) Balance whilst brushing your teeth.
Stand on one foot whilst you clean your teeth in the morning. This will improve your leg strength as well as your co-ordination. Vital to ensure that you stay healthy as you get older and can prevent you being at risk of falls.
2) Walk to school, work or park further away in the car park.
Getting some daylight and fresh air at the start of the day will help you to sleep better as well as the benefits of light activity such as walking which helps to improve concentration for both children and adults
3) Clean the house!
Light housework such as hoovering, cleaning or just tidying up has a health benefit as this can be considered light aerobic activity.
4) Take the stairs.
Whether you live on the top floor or are walking to the shops choose to take the stairs as often as possible. Run up one flight as fast as you can to count this as "vigorous exercise" or walk it for "light activity" (do as many flights as you can). This will have a benefit to your health as increasing the amount of vigorous exercise you do can reduce your risk of diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes or Cardiovascular disease.
5) Carry your shopping bags!
Lifting weight improves your overall bone health, as well as increasing the strength of your muscles and joints. Make sure you are lifting safely and reduce bags to manageable loads to ensure you do not cause injury.
6) Speak in person rather than over the phone.
How many times have you called someone at work when you could have walked over to speak to them? How many times have you shouted up the stairs or into another room rather than going to speak to the person you want to talk to? Take these small opportunities to increase your step count (sometimes also the opportunity to run up the stairs) as well as improving your wellbeing by increasing your interaction with friends, family and colleagues.
How much time during the day do you sit watching TV or reading a book or magazine? Instead of settling on the sofa lie on your front with your elbows tucked underneath. Raise your bodyweight onto your feet or your knees, trying to keep your body in a straight line. See if you can hold this position for a whole advert, or a whole ad break and see who can stay put the longest.
Cooking involves chopping, whisking, mixing, bending and reaching. Not only will you be making something delicious to eat later but you will be adding to the amount of light physical activity you do each day by preparing a home cooked meal or dish. For extra points try to stay standing for the whole time it takes to prepare and cook. Listen to music or a podcast to pass the time whilst your meal cooks, perhaps practicing your balance by standing on one leg again!
Whether it’s the YMCA or the Cha Cha Slide dancing can have a range of benefits for both health and wellbeing. Put on some upbeat music to lighten your mood, a bouncy tune to bop along with the kids or a slow dance to waltz around the living room with your partner. Dancing can improve both your health and quality of life depending on who you dance with and what music you choose to groove to!
10) Play with your children.
What better way to spend some quality time with your family as well as getting active? Whether its kicking a ball around, practicing throwing and catching or chasing each other around the house, playing games with your children is a great way to improve both your own and their mental health as well as the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity.
If you build some of these activities into your everyday life you will find it easier and easier to manage 20-30 minutes of physical activity each day without having to spend time putting on gym kit or spending time away from family and the tasks involved in daily life. For more ideas on simple ways to get active with your family make sure you check Go Outside for monthly active challenges to explore your local area whilst improving your health!