Five ways to increase your physical activity without going to the gym

I’ve lost count of the amount of people who tell me they are too busy to go to the gym. Life is becoming busier but the gym isn’t the only place we can work out! Life is full of opportunities for incidental exercise.

Using these tips to raise your activity level not only keeps you lean but it also promotes heart health, reduces your cancer risk and has benefits for your mental health.

1. At Home

There’s a lot of incidental activity to be done around the house. For starters, cleaning is a great way to incorporate activity in your day. Schedule in some of those big cleaning jobs now that the weather is nice! You can also try some lunges while taking the clothes basket out to the line or squats while putting away the shopping.

Gardening or taking up an active hobby can be a great way of getting you off the couch and outside this summer. Play with your kids or pets outside; run around with them instead of watching on the sidelines. Just be sure to slip, slip, slap!

If TV is your thing, try watching it standing up. Do some stretches, lunges, sit-ups or yoga poses to keep yourself moving while you binge-watch that series on Netflix!

 

2. At Work

Regular movement during the workday has a whole host of benefits. Recent research has shown sedentary workers tend to have increased risk of cardiovascular disease and even leisurely movement throughout your workday can help to combat this. So, stand up and walk around when you can. Use a headset or mobile to take calls while you walk around the office or take a short walk at lunchtime.

Take public transport to work. Researchers found the people using ‘active transport’ (walking or biking) had a lower BMI than those who drive to work. So, if you can, make the switch and see how much better you feel.

 

3. Plan Ahead

Using a weekly planner to schedule your planned physical activity. By scheduling fun activities such as having a hit of tennis with a girlfriend, or going for a hike, you’re much more likely to commit to it.

 

4. Do It For Someone Else

If I can’t encourage you to get active for your own health, maybe you can be inspired to do it for someone else?
When life gets busy and kids get older, daily walks with the dog are often forgotten about. Plan ahead and schedule some time every day to take Fido around the block. He’ll appreciate every second and love you for it!

Planting trees, working bees at schools, walking pound dogs and helping in community gardens are just a couple of options when it comes to volunteering locally. Mowing an elderly neighbour’s lawn or helping with the weeding helps to build community. Foodbank, Fare Share and St Mary’s help to feed the homeless and are always looking to take on more helpers.

Ask your friends if they’d like to do a charity fun run/walk with you while the weather is nice. You never know, you might get bitten by the fun-run bug!

 

5. Make Things Harder For You

As technology advances make our lives easier, we have to devise some ways to make our lives a little harder; to challenge ourselves. Take the stairs, park further away from the shop entrance so you are forced to walk, carry a basket instead of using a trolley. These little things add up, helping to increase your incidental activity and resulting in a healthier body.

Melanie McGrice