36Active living is not just about sweaty gym sessions (those are good of course). There are two types of “exercise”: strenuous exercise and incidental activity. Most of what people talk about has to do with strenuous, or formal, exercise. Let’s consider activity…

Just MOVE. It is certainly true that we should all get our heart rates up, breathing fast, and sweaty (all signs of strenuous exercise) for some 150-180 minutes a week. But activity or “incidental activity” is also very important (there is sometimes debate about which is more important but let’s just agree that these are equally important for all of us). Activity is really just about moving, about being active without straining. It is the sort of thing that can, and should form part of every day – the idea is to be active for at least 30 minutes every day. There are probably hundreds of ways to manage this but let’s look at a few of the best:

  • Walk. Don’t drive unless you have to. Park further away. Visit the neighbour. Take your hound out. Just walk. Everywhere and anywhere you can. It’s just the very best thing for you! Try buying a simple cheap pedometer and aim for 10 000 steps a day (it’s not easy but you can build up over time).
  • Rush. Try rushing a few things in your day: wash the car but faster. Shower quicker. March a little instead of strolling.
  • Break. A great many of us have office and desk-bound jobs. Get into the habit of taking breaks for a stretch, quick walk, whatever. You’ll have to work out what sort of timing works best for you but something like 5 minutes an hour and 20 minutes every 2-3 hours is a decent guide. And don’t worry about your boss too much: short breaks (be responsible) are almost always GOOD for productivity.
  • Stairs. The lift is your enemy and the stairs are your friend. This habit can take a while to get used to but the results are so worthwhile.
  • Collect. Forget deliveries. Get up, get out, go collect (lunch, mail, shopping, etc.)
  • Play. With your children, your pets, your friends & family.
  • Start well. A 5-minute stretching session as you get out of bed is great way to start your day.
  • Stop early. Get off the bus or train one stop early, and, yes, walk!
  • Love. Yes, intimacy is good for us all in so many ways. It’s also a great bout of exercise. So, do some more.
  • Hide. The remote.

There are so many ways to get more active, busy, and well. Once you get into this mind-set you will be amazed at how easy it is to be more active. Easy and worthwhile.