We all love the idea of easy exercises or being a regular gym-goer, and for some of us that becomes a reality, integrating with our lives and routines without much ado. For some of us, though, finding the time or inclination can be difficult, especially with busy schedules and myriad responsibilities.
Government fitness guidelines recommend 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week, which can seem daunting. However, what few people realise is that this time can be both cumulative (ten-minute sessions three times a day still count as your 30 minutes total) and incorporated into everyday tasks like housework and commuting.
Here are just a few ideas for easy activities that all tally up towards your half-hour target.
Workout Inside the Home
Cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, vacuuming around the house and rearranging furniture are all classed as easy types of exercise – so even if each task only takes five minutes, doing all four is already 20 of your 30 minutes accounted for. In fact, any kind of housework which involves moderate effort and movement, such as wiping the windows, changing the bed sheets and painting walls all count – and if you put some music on and dance along as you do it, you’re doubling the impact.
There are also plenty of good workout DVDs on the market which take you through a full workout in 20 minutes or less – great for fitting in between other commitments or while the dinner’s cooking.
Exercises Outside the Home
In the fresh air, gardening is the main source of calorie consumption, with mowing the lawn being a major contributor. When the weather is nice, invest in some badminton racquets (decent ones can be found for only a few pounds each) and invite your family or partner to a round robin tournament, with the winner getting to choose what’s on TV later. In winter months, clearing snow from the drive or sweeping/raking leaves from the lawn is also allowed, as is washing the car (so stop making the kids do all the work!).
Fitness Tips When You Are Out and About
There are tons of opportunities for easy exercises when you’re out for the day: at work, consider taking the stairs and not the lift, or parking as far from the building entrance as possible. Stand up or walk around to drink your break-time coffee (which additionally gives your brain a rest from the intensity of work, and allows you a little window of ‘down-time’), or if you live close to your place of work then consider cycling instead of driving.
At weekends, write a list and set a smart pace around the supermarket, instead of wandering casually up and down every aisle. Not only will you finish in record time, you’ll have burned loads more calories too. If you have a family, make the most of quality time together by going on a bike ride, walk in the local park or even taking them ice-skating.
Any of these activities can be completed in your own time, as and when it suits you, so next time you’re struggling to motivate yourself, just think about all the things you’ve most likely already done today, and take heart: it’s easier than you think.