Com­mute your way to fit­ness

USE YOUR JOUR­NEY TO OR FROM WORK FOR THOSE VI­TAL 30 MIN­UTES OF EX­ER­CISE A DAY, SAYS MICHELLE CHILDS

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Health & Lifestyle - ■ Michelle Childs is a health de­vel­op­ment man­ager at Life Leisure sports trust.

AHECTIC life­style and de­mand­ing fam­ily life is of­ten blamed for a lack of ex­er­cise, and it’s true. For many of us, find­ing an hour to ex­er­cise is not the top pri­or­ity in be­tween work­ing, feed­ing the kids or en­joy­ing a so­cial life.

But be­ing busy doesn’t mean you have to com­pro­mise. There are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to work ex­er­cise into your ex­ist­ing rou­tine with­out giv­ing up your pre­cious down time.

The Govern­ment rec­om­mends that adults un­der­take 150 min­utes (or two-and-a-half hours) of mod­er­ate to high in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity each week. That’s just 30 min­utes a day.

When you break it down like that it ac­tu­ally sounds more re­al­is­tic, es­pe­cially when you con­sider these daily 30-min­utes can be bro­ken down into smaller time slots and eas­ily be com­pleted by work­ing them into your com­mute.

BIKE IT

ONE of the most pop­u­lar forms of ac­tive trans­port, switch­ing the car for a bike, is a no-brainer.

You can cover large dis­tances, you are un­likely to be af­fected by traf­fic jams, and you can pick up enough speed to get your heart pump­ing.

You can fit your cy­cling habits around your own per­sonal pref­er­ences. Whether you want to en­joy it as a se­ri­ous sport or as a ca­sual com­muter, both are great ways of boost­ing your ac­tive min­utes.

Its pop­u­lar­ity also means there are lots of op­tions when it comes to equip­ment and cloth­ing, in­clud­ing stylish out­fits for the fash­ion con­scious and suitable gear to help you get on your bike even when the great British weather isn’t in your favour.

Check with your work, many have Cy­cle to Work schemes in place which can help make a bike and kit more af­ford­able.

WALK NOT WHEELS

THE sim­plest way to in­crease your ac­tiv­ity is by sim­ply walk­ing more.

Take a brisk walk to work, the shops, play­ground or school a few days a week and you’ve met your ex­er­cise quota with­out think­ing about it.

If it’s too far to walk, then com­pro­mise a lit­tle. Park your car a lit­tle fur­ther away than usual, get off the bus a stop ear­lier than sched­uled, or sim­ply use stairs in­stead of the lift.

Walk­ing to school with kids is not al­ways easy, es­pe­cially when time is a fac­tor. But build­ing in a fam­ily walk to school just one day a week will sig­nif­i­cantly add to your over-all ex­er­cise tar­get.

When you’re walk­ing, try and pick up the pace, if you’re get­ting slightly warm then you’re walk­ing at a speed that will do you some good.

SCOOT YOUR­SELF

NOW, scoot­ers may not be suitable for every­body – many adults may feel a lit­tle self-con­scious whizzing around on what is of­ten per­ceived as a kid’s toy – but they are a great al­ter­na­tive for those of us who aren’t bike friendly and whose com­mute to work is a lit­tle too far to walk.

Faster than walk­ing, and re­quir­ing less equip­ment than a bike, scoot­ers are a great com­pro­mise.

You can also take a scooter on a bus or tram, so if dis­tances dic­tate that you have to rely on pub­lic trans­port, you can still get ac­tive along the way.

Scoot­ing is also a great way to get kids in­ter­ested in ex­er­cis­ing more, with­out think­ing their ex­er­cis­ing!

There’s a whole range of scoot­ers out there – with prices rang­ing from around £30 for a ba­sic model to £200-plus for top of the range.

They can help make your ac­tive com­mute more man­age­able, and are def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­ing if bik­ing or run­ning (see be­low) isn’t an op­tion.

RUN HARD

RUN­NING is a great form of ex­er­cise, and if you can build up the en­durance to run to and from work a cou­ple of times week, it can work won­ders on your fit­ness.

Most of­fices are set up with show­ers these days, so it’s easy enough for you to leave a change of clothes in the of­fice and shower once you get there.

If run­ning to and from work is a lit­tle daunt­ing, then mix and match your trans­port to sup­port you un­til you feel more con­fi­dent run­ning long dis­tances.

For ex­am­ple, take your run­ning kit to work and go for a run at lunch time, or get off the bus sev­eral stops ear­lier than usual.

You can build up your stamina by tak­ing part in a couch to 5k course, build­ing up your con­fi­dence in a gym, or lis­ten­ing to a mo­ti­va­tional pod­cast.

A fit­ness tracker will also help you track your progress, record­ing the dis­tances cov­ered and time taken, which can be a great mo­ti­va­tion to keep go­ing.

LUNCHTIME CHAL­LENGE

IF YOU can’t get ac­tive dur­ing your com­mute, an hour’s lunch break is plenty of time to eat and take part in some ex­er­cise with­out cut­ting into your day.

Go­ing for a run, or sim­ply walk­ing around the block, will work to­wards your ac­tiv­ity goals.

Or look for a gym close to work, many have 30 minute lunch classes ex­actly for work­ers.

If all this sounds a lit­tle daunt­ing, head to your lo­cal gym or leisure cen­tre and get some one-to-one ad­vice.

Fit­ness ex­perts can ad­vise you on the right way to ex­er­cise base on your abil­ity, age and ob­jec­tives, and help you kick start your new ac­tive trans­port rou­tine be­fore you put it into prac­tice.

Whether you cy­cle to and from work, right, run there and/or back, left, or even hop on your scooter, be­low, ex­er­cis­ing while you are com­mut­ing is a great way to get fit

Lots of gyms of­fer 30-minute classes – per­fect for an hour’s lunch break

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