How to squeeze 150 minutes of exercise into your routine
Are you one of the 20 million people in the UK who are physically inactive? There’s an easy test to tell. Simply ask yourself: do I get either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exertion (e.g. walking) or 75 minutes of high intensity exertion (e.g. jogging) every week?
It’s revealing that, according to a new report by the British Heart Foundation, around a quarter of Britons answer in the negative. Those minutes represent the government guidelines for the minimum required level of activity — hit them and you help prevent or manage over 20 chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and hypertension. You also avoid falling into a category — ‘physically inactive’ — that accounts for 6pc of all deaths globally.
Of course, we should strive to do more than the bare minimum — but I can already hear you thinking ‘how on Earth am I going to find time to do two and a half hour’s activity a week?’ Fret not: here are five simple and easy to tricks to incorporate more physical activity within your schedule without really trying ...
Commute on public transport? Get off one stop/station early
An easy trick to get more exercise, yet so difficult to do. Why would you want to get off a stop early when it means getting home 15 minutes later?
The answer, of course, is that you’ ll feel better for it. Exercise elevates our mood — which is the precise opposite effect of sitting in a crowded carriage, armpit-to-armpit with a hoard of other commuters.
Do it once and you’ll find you do it again and again.
As we grow older, it’s easy to lose our sense of adventure. Remember those weekends you spent with friends racing around on bicycles as a kid? They get replaced by social trips to the coffee shop, restaurant, or — probably the worst for your health — pub.
It doesn’t have to be so. Meeting up in the great outdoors — going for a walk, a bike ride, or even trying out a new sport — is a great way to catch up while working towards that 150 minute target.
Incorporate walking into your meetings
Do you have a regular meeting in your calendar with just a handful of people? Try shifting the location from the boardroom to the pavement. You’ll get some precious min- utes of exertion, and the chances are you’ ll be more productive too. Research shows that walking helps boost creative thinking — so by getting outside the box, you’re more likely to think outside the box.
I appreciate that suggesting a walking meeting to colleagues might sound a bit ... weird. You could trick them into it instead: say you really need a coffee and that your favourite shop (”they do the best flat whites”) is ten minutes away. What office worker could resist?
We’ve become obsessed with technology and whilst that isn’t inherently a bad thing — technological advancements have saved lives — it has also made us lazy. Emails have come to replace good, old-fashioned, face-to-face chat.
Sure, there are some circumstances where emails are better than a simple, physical exchange. However, for anything that requires a quick response, get up off your chair and start moving. It will get you moving, and also provide that immediate decision you need.
Change your lunchtime location
The lunch hour is a perfect opportunity to escape the office — but many people fall into the habit of going to the same cafe or shop every day. According to one recent survey, one in six people have had the same lunch for the last two years, with the ham sandwich the most frequent repeat option. That’s a lot of short trips to the same local supermarket.
Today, try changing the scenery by heading to a location a little further away. It will give you the opportunity to explore new places, change your routine and increase your physical activity levels.
You don’t have to eat up (no pun intended) your entire lunch break with a long walk, but just five extra minutes each way will help break the monotony of your routine and add 50 minutes to your weekly exertion. Now only 100 more to go.
Jake Gifford is a Buckinghamshire Personal Trainer making fitness simple for busy professionals. Discover more ways to incorporate healthy habits into your busy schedule at www.thephitcoach.com
You don’t have to resort to weightlifting at your desk to hit the recommended exercise level.