August 28th, 2020

7 tips to increase your physical activity easily

We all know that regular exercise is essential for both physical and mental health. However, since gyms closed in March due to the lockdown, many people have found it hard to stay fit.

Exercise doesn’t have to involve the gym, though, and there are many ways you can incorporate it into your day-to-day life.

Here are our seven tips on how you can stay fit by increasing your daily activity.

1. Set yourself step goals with a pedometer

If you’re not sure where to begin with exercising more, setting yourself a daily step goal is a great start. Experts recommend between 5,000 and 10,000 steps per day and unsurprisingly, the more steps the better.

While there are a variety of cheap and high-quality pedometers on the market, you can also get by just as easily with a smartphone app, which uses your phone’s GPS to calculate your daily steps.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, you could set yourself a lower step goal initially and then slowly increase it as you get fitter.

Tracking your daily steps gives you an easy and measurable goal that can help you improve your fitness without much effort.

2. Walk to work

Even though it might be more convenient to drive, consider walking to work at least once a week. Something as simple as walking to work can be overlooked when thinking about exercise, but the light cardio is good for your heart and helps to build stamina.

Try to keep to a regular routine if you do try this, such as alternate days or even just every Friday. Sticking to the same pattern is helpful for making sure you don’t slack off from your weekly exercise.

You could even consider listening to a podcast as you walk and learn something new while you’re building up your fitness and improving your health.

3. Take up gardening

Gardening is a great way to stay healthy and comes with the added bonus of beautifying your home.

The acts of digging, weeding, and planting involve the use of all the main muscle groups in your body, which won’t surprise anyone who’s woken up sore after a long day of gardening.

Gardening also gives you more exposure to the sun, which increases your body’s production of Vitamin D. This vitamin provides many health benefits, including strengthening your immune system, which is especially useful during a pandemic.

Research has found that even a short amount of time spent gardening can also have significant positive effects on health, including lowered stress levels and improved mood.

4. Get a dog

Although it can be a big investment for your family, getting a dog can do wonders for your health. From playing fetch to going on long regular walks, getting a dog is a great motivator for exercise.

There are also some potential bonuses of owning a dog that you might not consider, such as teaching your kids responsibility and the opportunity to meet new people.

A lot of people have been feeling more socially isolated during the lockdown, as people work from home and are restricted from meeting friends. Getting a dog can give you an opportunity to socialise regularly with other dog-walkers as well as improving your fitness.

5. Get spring cleaning

It is never the wrong time of year for a good and thorough spring clean. Housework is great for light exercise and your family are sure to thank you for it.

It’s an ideal form of light exercise if you’re working remotely, too, as it improves your immediate environment and you can do it at any time for as long as you want. If you’re struggling to stay focused on a piece of work, consider taking five minutes to do some tidying and you’ll find that the burst of activity blows the mental cobwebs away.

You could even clean the car yourself too, which would be a good opportunity for some mild exercise and would save you money at the same time.

6. Go on trips at the weekend

A great way to get more exercise is to make time in your weekends to go for a walk in the countryside with your family or friends. Spending just 20 minutes in nature has been shown to lower blood pressure and might be just what is needed after a long week at work.

If the weather is good, you and your family could even take your bikes and have a picnic. Or, if you want to visit somewhere further afield, consider spending a day visiting one of Britain’s many Areas of Outstanding National Beauty to really make the most of your weekend.

7. Use your breaks wisely

If you get a mid-morning or lunch break, consider using it to get out of the office and stretch your legs.

Not only will the walk be good for your health, but research has shown that people who walk during their lunch break show better concentration and energy levels in the afternoon than those who don’t.

This is because even light exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, causing higher workplace productivity, more creativity, and an improved mood.

If you want some company, you could invite your co-workers to come with you to catch some fresh air. A short walk during your lunchtime could not only improve your health, but also give you a chance to socialise and return to the office feeling refreshed.

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