I actually don’t like exercise.
Yes, you read that correct. Well, kind of. The definition of exercise is “activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness”. Now, of course I participate in plenty of that, it’s just that I hate exercising purely for the fact of ‘getting fit’ (how do you know when you are fit? What’s the measure?) or to look a certain way.
I just like being active in everyday life and doing physical stuff that I enjoy, that way I’m likely to stick at it and it becomes a lifestyle, rather than a chore; something I have to do. Which is why you won’t find me in a gym (don’t like it, like being outside) and why I find it [fairly] easy to have the motivatation to do stuff.
Being active doesn’t have to mean running a marathon (or even running at all), cycling, hiking a mountain, joining a gym or similar. It’s not about become a ‘fitness fanatic’ or eating salads for the rest of your life. It’s just about getting your body moving like it’s designed to, rather than sitting.
Did you know that a quarter of people in the UK think that a 15 minute walk is too far and will jump in the car instead?
Here’s some tips about how to live a more active lifestyle (without having to step foot in a gym or signing up for a marathon):
- Walk rather than take the car for shorter journeys. Raining? Wear a rain jacket and/or take a brolly. It’s only water – you will dry! As that well known saying goes, here’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. You’ll also start to notice things that you don’t when you’re in the car – walking can help you relax, unwind and practice mindfulness. Take the long route home every now and then, and maybe the long route via a hill.
- Getting the bus? Get off a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way. It all adds up. Wearing heels/uncomfortable shoes? Wear trainers and carry the others in a bag to change into (or keep some at work).
- Bike rather than using the car – use it as transport! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to get hot and sweaty and need a shower when you arrive at your destination – just don’t pedal like you’re being chased! Got stuff to carry? Invest in a basket or some panniers (bags that attach to a rack over the back wheel) – you can carry all sorts of things on these as, depending on the rack, they can carry up to 50kg. To put it into perspective, that’s a whole small person! My friend Sam bike everywhere, and is often seen with a crate of beer on the back of his bike. Biking can also make you feel like a kid again; try sticking your legs out when going down a hill, pedalling through puddles or just pedalling as fast as possible and you’ll see what I mean.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift – every time, both up and down. Don’t think you have time? By the time the lift arrives and the doors eventually close, there probably isn’t much difference in it.
- Dance around your kitchen while cooking (or indeed any other room in your house at any time). Music is good for soul, go dance like no ones watching.
- Do squats/stretches/leg exercise/something else when you’re brushing your teeth. It will help you brush for the recommended time (2 minutes) by giving you a distraction, and you’ll not notice the stretching or squatting because you’re distracted by brushing your teeth. It’s a win win!
- Invite your friends out for a walk or a bike ride instead of the pub (or, as well as – earn your pint!). Do an activity and chat, rather than just meet up, sit down and chat. It’s a shared experience which is always fun to look back on. Don’t just stop at friends – what about workmates, the girl from the hairdressers or the new guy to the village? New friends just waiting to be made!
- The One Hour Outside campaign by Splodz Blogz encourages people to get outside for a little bit each day (yes, even during the winter) to get some fresh air, a bit of exercise and some natural light. Whether it’s a walk, some cycling, visiting your local park, some outdoor meditation, running some errands or taking your flask of tea up a hill, give it a go!
- Get vigorous with your housework.
- Get a watch or something similar to record your steps – set yourself a daily target and try to achieve it. Get extra steps in by walking or jogging on the step at home.
- Take things like washing upstairs or to different rooms one piece at a time.
- Stand while taking a phone call, and go see people in person at work rather than email or phone. Stand up at work if/when you can.
- Exercise while watching TV by doing some squats, lunges, stretches etc. Or sit, stand, sit, stand. Disclaimer: your family/flatmates/pets might find this odd, but get them to join in.
- Play games with your kids that involve movement. Hide and seek etc.
Have you got any others to add? Leave a comment to share!