Up your mobility in 2022
New year, new goals. So many people start the new year with great intentions of improving their fitness. As the days and weeks slip past, though, our busy lives often get in the way. That daily gym session you committed yourself to becomes biweekly, then only once a week, and suddenly you can’t remember the last time you went to the gym.
We all know that keeping fit and active is the key to good health. So, how do you stick to your fitness goals while maintaining all of your work, life and family commitments?
The good news is you don’t need a gym membership or an hour-long sweat-session to get healthy. In fact, you can reap all of the health benefits of a full workout by simply sneaking in short bouts of activity throughout the day. Here are some tips to help you get more active.
1. Start stretching
One of the best ways to start increasing your activity is by adding some simple stretches throughout the day. Spend a few minutes loosening your back when you get out of bed. Stretch your shoulders and neck at your desk throughout your work day, and lengthen out your hips after you’ve been sitting for a while.
2. Walk whenever possible
Walking is free, easy to do and offers a host of health benefits. Carving out just 5-10 minutes of time for a quick walk a couple of times can really add up. Try going for a short, brisk walk during your lunch break. Take your partner, kids or friends for a walk. Walk to the shops or work if you can. You could even try scheduling a walking meeting with your colleagues. The possibilities are endless!
3. Change up your commute
Don’t underestimate the potential value of your commute time! Adding exercise to your commute can be a really efficient way to sneak in more activity for time-crunched workers. Could you walk or cycle instead of driving? Can you park your car a few blocks away from the office and walk the rest of the way? Even taking public transport can help, as this forces you to walk and stand more than just sitting in the car.
4. Take the stairs
You have probably heard this suggestion before, but it really is a super effective strategy. Climbing the stairs uses all of your core and leg muscles, which means you strengthen these important muscles while getting where you need to go. Furthermore, you’ll get your heart rate up at the same time!
5. Plan active dates with friends and family
Instead of meeting friends at the pub or chilling out with your family in front of the TV, turn your social time into active time. Invite everyone outside to play frisbee or kick a football around. Take the family swimming or cycling, or invite your friends to join a sports club with you.
6. Incorporate regular desk breaks and desk exercises
We all know that sitting too long is bad for us. Unfortunately, though, many of us are required to spend long hours in front of a computer. Adding in a few minutes of activity every hour can help combat the effects of sitting by firing up your muscles and getting your body moving. Ideally you should move at least every half hour when at your desk. This doesn’t have to cut into your work time, though. Even just simply standing up and stretching for a couple of minutes can help.
Another option is to build in a few desk exercises once or twice a day. Try this quick 5-minute routine for a great health boost in minimum time:
- Stand up and sit down off your chair 10 times
- Holding on to the back of your chair, push up onto your toes 10 times
- Perform arm circles, 10 times forwards and 10 times backwards
- Do 10 push-ups against the wall or your desk
- Sitting upright on the edge of your chair, cross your arms over your chest and rotate your upper body side to side, 10 times each way
7. Do more housework
Sure, no one likes doing chores, but cleaning the house really does get you moving. Put on some music, push your vacuum cleaner and scrub the floors with vigour. Before you know it, your house will be clean and your heart and muscles will be pumping! According to WebMD, mowing the lawn can even burn as many calories as cycling.
8. Learn to love gardening
Great news for those of you who spend their time planting and raking! According to the American Heart Association, gardening is considered moderate physical activity and can be a great way to meet your physical activity requirements. Gardening can be a full-body workout that builds your endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Depending on the activity, you can work all of your major muscle groups, including legs, glutes, back, core, arms and shoulders.
9. Get dancing
Ok, so you may feel a little silly at first, but in the privacy of your living room or bedroom, who cares?! Simply put on your favourite tunes and get moving; no fancy equipment needed. Dancing is a great way to get your heart rate up, improve your strength and balance, and burn calories. If you want some help to get started, you can try a dance workout video or join a class. Once you find your groove, you can dance the night away for some serious health benefits.