Don’t have time to exercise? Hate the thought of sweating over a treadmill in embarrassing Lycra, while intimidatingly buff gym bunnies show off their bods on the other machines? Fear not. These simple tips for a healthier lifestyle will have you working out on your way to work, without even realizing you’re doing it!
Ditch the bus pass
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise the human body can take. It’s heavy-duty enough to raise your heart rate and get your breathing going, but relaxing enough to enjoy. A walk to work every day can help you wake up, gives you some me-time before you hit the office, and offers plenty of opportunities to explore the town or city you live in. You’d be amazed at what you can find just by changing up your route every couple of weeks! Walking home at the end of the day is the perfect way to unwind without actually going to a gym – and you’ll benefit from kick starting your metabolism after a day in a chair, too.
Get up, stand up
Did you know that just standing up makes your metabolism work harder? When you stand, your body begins to produce more adrenalin, which raises your heart rate slightly. Plus, your leg muscles get a secret workout too. Get into the habit of taking phone calls on the hoof, and start having meetings somewhere you can stand up and talk rather than sit down. The extra elevation does wonders for your circulation, reduces lymph pooling (which is what causes that heavy feeling in your limps when you’ve been sitting down for too long) and keeps your posture in better shape.
Play with the kids
After a hard day in the office, you might feel that an hour charging around with your children is the last thing you want to do. Get back into the habit, though, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to it. There’s nothing like playing to kick your heart into high gear, and when you’re having some real quality time with your family you won’t even know you’re exercising.
Make time for your love life
Sex is one of the most enjoyable ways for an adult to exercise. It releases serotonin and endorphins, keeps your relationship stable and healthy, and gives you a decent workout into the bargain. The Chief Medical Office (CMO) reckons you should do 2 ½ hours per week, with each period of exercise lasting for at least 10 minutes – in other words, roughly half an hour a day, five days a week. What better way to spend that half an hour than with the person you love?
Got a garden? Use it regularly and you’ll shed that extra weight, get a good healthy blast of fresh air and maybe even grow some good food into the bargain. Even light gardening is great exercise (so much so that it’s recommended by the British Heart Foundation as a brilliant way to control cholesterol). Plus, you’ll create a lovely environment for a little post-workout relaxation. Easy, healthy UK growers include onions; potatoes; rhubarb; and all the hard fruit trees. What could be better than a hobby that keeps you fit and eating well too?
Get on your bike
Cycling is the most efficient form of human motion. It’s also hugely enjoyable, getting safer in our cities by the month, and a completely different way to experience the daily commute. Most major cities have a reasonable cycle network, and the number of people turning to two wheels to get where they need to go is rising thanks to the Cycle Scheme, which lets you buy a bike tax free and pay for it in monthly installments from your salary. You can pick what you like, from a super trendy old school Dutchie.co.uk to a Tour de France racer. Just remember to wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Les Chatfield