Practical ways to move more
It’s a common misconception that being physically active requires going to a gym or splashing out on expensive exercise equipment. The fact is many everyday activities, from gardening to walking your dog count as valuable activity.
The key is to embrace the concept of seeing all movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Use excuses like ‘I have to check the mail’, or ‘I need to visit the ATM’ as motivation to enjoy some fresh air and a walk.
Here’s how to turn life's odd jobs into healthier lifestyle activities.
Outsmart the couch
You've had a long day at work, dinner’s been cooked, the dishes cleared away and you've been looking forward to watching your favourite TV show all day. Great! Use this opportunity to do an ad-break workout. Try completing one set of 20 lunges, squats, crunches or as many push-ups as you can per break. Repeat this for each ad-break during your show. Better still, press record and go for a 15-minute walk. When you use the fast-forward function to enjoy commercial-free viewing.
Maximise the mundane
You probably lug your overstuffed laundry basket to the clothesline in one trip, but you'll burn extra kilojoules by making multiple trips. So instead of emptying the washing machine’s contents into one basket, make smaller trips back and forth. The same principle applies to moving the weekly grocery shopping from the car to the pantry.
Squat away clutter
Instead of thinking, ‘I don't feel like picking that up now’, view a cluttered floor as a chance to get some leg and butt work in. Bend your knees and squeeze those glutes when putting away clothes, shoes and everything else that isn't where it should be.
Do it yourself
Try mowing your lawn with a push mower, or taking an afternoon to weed the garden. You could add a fresh coat of paint to a room in the house. In the kitchen, instead of buying frozen pre-cut vegies, chop them fresh and mix ingredients with a spoon using elbow grease instead of an electric mixer.
At the office
Whenever you pick up your phone, stand up at your desk to give your body a stretch and an energy boost. Try to keep the files and paperwork that you use often in an overhead compartment so that you need to stand up to reach them. If convenient go wireless and pace while you talk on the phone.
Go the distance
Start using the bathroom that's furthest away from your desk. Refill your water in the kitchen or water cooler that's on the other side of the office. Schedule a ‘daily reminder’ to walk a lap around your office.
Move before you eat
Put your healthy snacks in the office kitchen rather than your desk drawer, so that you have to move for food, and do a lap or two around the office before sitting down with it.
While on holidays
The possibilities for aquatic exercise at the beach are nearly limitless! Think swimming, surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and snorkelling.
Want to stay dry? Grab a bucket and spade and get to work building a large sand castle or sculpture with your kids. All that digging and scooping will give your arms a great work out. Make friends with those near you and organise a game of beach cricket.
Give your car a break
Turn an ice-cream excursion into a walk with the family. Walk to the corner store to pick up groceries. Visit a nearby playground with your children and push them on the swings and chase them around the park.