How to squeeze 150 min­utes of ex­er­cise into your rou­tine

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFESTYLE - By JAKE GIF­FORD

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.

Be ad­ven­tur­ous

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

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

You don’t have to re­sort to weightlift­ing at your desk to hit the rec­om­mended ex­er­cise level.

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