Five ways to counteract a sedentary lifestyle
With many of us spending eight hours a day at our desks, our Fitness Editor, Hollie Grant shares five tips to wake up our bodies
1) Walk more: 'OK, that sounds pretty basic, but the key is finding excuses to walk when you normally wouldn’t. If you work in an office and need to speak to someone on another floor don’t email or call them- go walk and talk to them. Take the stairs to your floor, not the lift. Pick a parking space as far away from the supermarket as possible. If you have a long call to make to a friend put them on hands free and go for a walk. Take the dog for a walk. Get off your bus one stop earlier. These are really simple things, but it’s remembering to do them that’s the hard bit. That’s why pedometers are such a great idea as they encourage you to consider your activity levels as a whole, not just when you are at the gym. The Apple watch, Fitbit and Jawbone are all great, but they are pricey. Your basic pedometer will be just as effective if your main goal is to increase your steps per day.'
2) Active hobbies: 'One of the hardest things to do when you work long hours is working out a way to fit exercise into your free time. Weekends are so precious that it’s not very tempting to waste them at the gym. The key is to find a passion or hobby that as an added benefit is active- that way it wont seem like exercise! A great example is climbing. My brother, his wife and their three children absolutely love rock climbing! They often spend 3-4 hours at the climbing centre, enjoying quality time together, developing problem solving skills and confidence in the children, laughing, talking, bonding whilst also doing great exercise (you can burn between 500-1000 calories an hour climbing, and it builds fantastic strength). For my mum she loves gardening and again it doesn’t necessarily feel like exercise but the combination of squatting, walking, digging is a fantastic workout. Find something you enjoy and it’ll be much easier to maintain. Life’s too short to sit on a spin bike hating life!'
3) Stand up: 'Unless you have issues with your back, standing up more is a really simple and easy way to improve strength and stay active. This may mean asking for a stand up desk for work (failing that sitting on a fitness ball will activate the core and make you work hard). Stand on the tube and practice ‘tube surfing’ - trying to ride the tube with no hands, using your core for balance. At work stand up when making calls or when a smoker goes out for a cigarette break. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to stand up every 20 minutes even if just for a minute. Stand during TV adverts, whilst brushing your teeth, drying your hair. Again, like with walking more, after a while these will become second nature.'
4) Maximise your commute: 'In London alone there are more than 610,000 cycling journeys per day. More and more people are choosing to cycle, jog or walk to work everyday. There are so many benefits with the most obvious ones being: it’s great exercise, it’s free, it saves you money, it gets you away from the stresses of public transport, it gets you away from the bugs/germs that come with packed tubes. If you’re not in a position to commute the whole way then you could always break up your journey and maybe walk or cycle to your local train station rather than getting the bus.'
5) Get up 30 minutes earlier: 'OK, so this is not going to be a popular one at first BUT there’s lots that you can do in 30 minutes at home! With a few inexpensive purchases such as a resistance band and skipping rope you could combine HIIT and weight training in one short session. This would be a positive, motivating start to the day and when we start the day well we are more likely to continue our day with further positive choices.'
Every month for the next year, the #360me team will be sharing their baby-steps approach to leading a healthier, happier life – tried, tested, researched and real-life-approved. It’s here for you – to enjoy, to inspire, to guide. Share your #360me journey with us at @psydirector and @psychologiesmagazine.