It’s national fitness day in the UK, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my top 5 tips for becoming more active.
Before we get to that though, I’d like to just take a brief moment to discuss why this issue is in fact so important.
There’s no getting around it, exercise is something that everyone knows they should be doing more of. After all, we are constantly bombarded with public campaigns and incentives encouraging people to move more on a daily basis.
Yet research has found that as much as 80% of people in the UK aren’t getting anywhere close to the recommended levels of 30 minutes of activity five times a week and this has been directly linked to the obesity and chronic disease epidemics we are currently facing.
If that wasn’t bad enough, findings in one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted in the UK found that with the exception of when they went food shopping, 1 in 10 people had not even walked continually for more than five minutes during the 4-week time frame in which they were questioned!
This in turn is having a huge impact on everything from the health of our society, to the NHS and our economy.
So why does it matter?
It’s not just important from a weight loss perspective, as the vast majority of health issues our modern world is currently facing on mental, physical and emotional levels could be treated, improved or even resolved, simply by finding ways to move more on a daily basis.
I know it’s tough. We’ve all been there when at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is lace up those shoes to go out for a run or head to the gym.
But a huge part of changing this part of your health is getting over the mind-set that exercise has to be all about spending endless hours in a gym, doing gruelling activities you hate, where if you can still walk or haven’t thrown up by the end of it you didn’t work hard enough.
The reality is that couldn’t be farther from the truth of what is actually required, and you could engage in anything from taking up a sport to swimming, attending a class, doing yoga or even simply walking more on a daily basis.
Becoming more active is an essential part of improving your health and luckily there are ways to fit it into your routine, regardless of how busy or disassociated with the idea you may be.
So here’s my 5 tips for the day on how to become more active:
Tip 1: Planning
In the grand scheme of things it all comes down to planning. You plan for most other parts of your life and if exercise is a new endeavour you are trying to add into your routine then your approach should be no different.
Depending on how far ahead your schedule is mapped out, I suggest having a look at your calendar and finding areas in which you either have, or can free up some time.
Then highlight the time slot when you can become more active and schedule it in as a part of your day.
That way you are far less likely to cancel on yourself.
The chosen time of the day will help you decide whether you will be attending a class, going to the gym or simply working out at home.
Tip 2: Use proper time management
If you have an extremely hectic schedule and can’t free up an hour to exercise, then break it down into 30 or even 15 minute slots.
Those short bursts quickly add up and this may also be a good strategy if exercise is new to you, or if it is something you perceive as an action you will not enjoy.
At the end of the day it’s far easier to convince yourself to face it for 15 minutes instead of an hour.
Tip 3: Pack your bag the night before
That way you can go straight from work, cutting out the chance of going home first and losing motivation, as all the good intentions in the world can quickly be lost as soon as you enter a comfortable environment and get tempted to just relax.
It also helps save time, as by the time you have gone home, changed and left to go to the gym or your class, you could probably already have been done with your work out.
Tip 4: Exercise at home
If you work long days with a tiresome commute, it can often be difficult to find the time or motivation to once again head out to the gym.
The easiest way around this is to find a routine you can complete at home at your own convenience and this can be anything from circuits to yoga, or even body weight workouts.
Best of all these can also be completed anywhere and anytime, with a minimal amount of equipment.
So if you travel a lot for work you could also use this approach in your hotel.
Just try and do it as soon as you get through the door, as sitting down or doing anything else first is a sure way to kill any motivation you may have left after a long day at work.
Tip 5: Have a proper plan
If you have a proper fitness regime you can save time by training ‘smarter’ and ensuring you get the most value out of the time you do put to use.
After all, 30 minutes of a properly structured workout is far more effective than an hour spent aimlessly bouncing around from one machine to another in a gym.
It’s also best to avoid one size fits all programmes you find online as much as possible.
This is because everyone responds differently and the way they are designed will in all likelihood not be the optimal approach for reaching your goals. Especially when you are under the added pressure of trying to make the best use of your time as possible.
If your ever changing schedule makes it so you can’t or don’t want to commit to regular personal training sessions, but you still want all the benefits of tailored programme and nutrition design, along with accountability and support, then Online Fitness Coaching is definitely worth considering.
Bonus Tip: Do what you can
Regardless of how committed you are, there will always be times when life gets in the way.
So when this happens just try and do as much as you can, without adding further pressure on yourself to be perfect.
Just remember – something is always better than nothing and overtime all those positive actions will add up.
Improving your health is in many ways simply just about consistency and the easiest way to do this is to find ways to make the healthy option the ‘easy’ option, therefore aiding in getting round the barriers of both time and motivation.
I actually recently put together a short strategy guide on this exact issue, filled with tips and insights on getting round the barrier of time in regards to improving your diet and becoming more active.
Click here or the image below to get your free copy
That should give you some ideas on how to add being more active into your routine, but depending on your circumstances there are a range of other approaches you can take.
Are there any other tips or tricks that you can think of that may help others?
Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.