How do you hit the weekly exercise target when your life is filled with work, family and other commitments?
What is the weekly exercise target?
Under NHS Living Well guidelines, adults from 19-64 who are looking to keep fit and healthy should be doing a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, plus two strength sessions. That could translate into three 50 minute sessions a week. These might comprise a workout on a rowing machine, bicycle or treadmill; an exercise class such as spin or boxercise; or taking part in a sport such as squash or football, as an example. The strength sessions could be a free weights session in the gym and a circuit.
Seeing the exercise target in a new light
But there are other ways that you can hit this weekly exercise target, without taking a chunk out of your day. One of the problems with proscribing an amount of time is that your exercise target can become something that is seen as a problem or a challenge rather than an enjoyment or a positive action.
Here are some ideas for incorporating sufficient activity into your day to meet the 150 minute exercise target but in a slightly different manner.
If you commute to work, consider getting off the train or bus one or two stops earlier and walking the rest of the way. This could be a 15-20 minute brisk walk. If you have a shower at work, you could run/jog part of the way into work.
Instead of sitting in the canteen or at your desk at lunchtime, make your break an active one. Spend at least part of your lunch break doing exercise. This could be power walking or jogging. Or you can find a space at work where you can do some exercises such as lunges, sit-ups and burpees.
Drum up support at work to play a sport after work one night. Take a frisbee and play Ultimate Frisbee at a local park. Have a kick around with a football or throw a rugby ball. Or go for a walk/jog that finishes at a pub so you can all have a social gathering after work.
Get family/friends to join you on a weekend or evening bike ride.
Keep a pair of weights by your desk and every so often do a 10 minute burst of weight lifting. This is a brilliant way to clear the mind between one piece or work and the next. Three 10 minute sessions in a day equals a 30 minute weights activity and you haven’t needed to go near a gym.
Pop a skipping rope in your bag and find a space where you can do some skipping during the day. Again, just taking a break from your desk to do 5-10 minutes of skipping is great to re-energise you and get the oxygen and blood pumping around your body.
If you have children to look after, use the hour between the end of nursery/school and tea time creatively. Turn it into a play-time for the children and an activity time for you. This could involve races or creating and manoeuvring over obstacle courses. It might mean power-walking as your push a pram. It could be giving children ‘piggy-back’ rides.
As you collapse in an exhausted heap after 45 minutes of ‘play-time’, you will have raised your heart rate, exercised a heap of muscles and spent a fun time with your kids too.
For advice and help with meeting your exercise target, talk to our experienced and knowledgable staff in the Outlooks Gym.