5 Tips to Increase Your Physical Activity
by Amy Holmes | 4th May 2023
It’s so easy to put exercise at the bottom of the to-do list with our busy schedules, but being active is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Although it can seem daunting, increasing your physical activity doesn’t have to mean spending endless hours in the gym, or dragging yourself to that dreaded HIIT class, exercise is meant to be something you enjoy and shouldn’t feel like a chore!
In this blog post we will discuss the importance of movement, the recommendations and 5 easy and realistic tips to boost your activity levels.
What exactly are the benefits of moving more?
Being physically active helps to:
- Reduce the risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer
- Help manage your weight
- Increase your bone density and muscle mass
- Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
- Improve your quality of sleep
- Increase energy levels
- Boost mood and self esteem
Depending on your own abilities, the advice is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity. Or you could choose to do a combination of both!
Moderate aerobic activity includes brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, gardening, intense housework
Vigorous intensity activity makes it hard to say a few words without pausing for breath, including jogging/running, playing football, HIIT sessions, swimming and hiking uphill.
Balance exercises are recommended if you’re an older adult at risk of falls. Try including any of the following in your daily routine to improve your stability:
- Backwards and sideways walking
- Walking on heels and toes
- Standing from a sitting position
- Standing on one foot for as long as possible
- You could always give yoga or pilates a go too!
Gourmet Fuel’s tips to get more active
1. Find what works for you!
Find an activity you enjoy, you may find that some things work better for you than others, and that's completely normal. In fact, it will make it easier to stay consistent if you enjoy it! Variety is key too as it prevents boredom so get out there and try something new!
2. Make exercise more social
Try teaming up with a friend or family member to take part in a sport. Whether you find a walking buddy, go to a gym class together, or pair up for a team sport like tennis, it is a fun way to incorporate movement and catch up! Chances are you won’t even realise you’re exercising!
3. Make conscious decisions to get more movement in
It can be just as beneficial and worthwhile to make smaller changes to your routine, like squeezing in short bursts of activity into your busy life. Every bit helps!
Whether it be opting for the stairs instead of the lift, or choosing a parking spot further away from a building, or getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way! These small changes will make all the difference and will certainly add up!
4. Get those steps in!
It's recommended that you take 10,000 steps per day. If you’ve been living a sedentary life, or working a desk job, it can be daunting to imagine where you’d get the time to walk this much.
How about trying to gradually build up your step count? Start with 2,000 steps per day in your first week, and slowly increase on that number every week until you find yourself at 10,000 steps! Don’t feel the need to get your steps all in one go – instead, you could split this up into a few smaller strolls throughout the day to make it more manageable!
And make it fun! Explore different areas where you live, walk with a friend or pop on a podcast or your favourite playlist and the time will fly!
5. Try to stand more, get up and move around every hour
Standing has a variety of health benefits, it burns more calories than sitting, strengthens abdomen and leg muscles, improves balance and prevents blood clot formation!
If you work a desk job and it is an option for you, invest in a standing desk! If not, getting up and moving about every half hour to an hour will significantly increase your activity levels.