03 Apr Moving More: Small Steps
This week, we hear from our Health Practitioner, Frauke. Frauke is sharing plenty of practical advice on how we can take small steps to increase levels of physical activity and get moving more.
I know that I don’t move quite enough, but I don’t consider myself inactive.
As a nation we move much less than our predecessors used to. With sedentary jobs becoming more widespread and cars the main mode of transport, we appear to have lost a true sense of what activity levels can be considered ‘normal’. Given that 5,000 steps a day is considered as a sedentary lifestyle, what can we be doing to move more?
The good news is that is doesn’t need to take a huge amount of extra work to move more.
Where do I start if I can’t really do the normal kind of activities or simply don’t have time?
Even if you don’t have much time, there is a whole host of things you can introduce to move more – literally step by step.
- Walk to and from work. If you work close enough to home how about including some extra steps each day? If you do have to drive, how about parking a little further away and walking the rest of the journey in?
- Get away from the desk . . . at lunch time! Be sure to take yourself away from your desk. Going for a quick walk round the block can be another way to get more active.
- Combine a visit to the shops with a quick walk. If we’re heading out anyway, what’s an extra ten minute walk?
Day to Day things to increase activity levels without me even noticing
Activity doesn’t need to mean I have to go to the gym. It doesn’t need to take hours at a time either. Just adding small spates of activity of 10 minutes at a time will count towards our overall activity. Here are some ideas to get us started:
- Housework (hoovering, sweeping, dusting, cleaning windows . . . anything that gets your heart beat going!)
- Gardening (digging, pruning, bending and carrying is a super workout)
- Walking the kids to school
- Getting off a bus stop one stop earlier – again, you will hardly notice in terms of the time it takes, but it all adds up
- Walking to the corner shop to get your daily essentials rather than driving
Going for more structured exercise: finding something you enjoy
The thing with exercise is like a lot of things in life: for most of us it is about finding what you enjoy. We naturally prioritise things we like, things that give us energy and put a smile on our face. So, if you don’t feel like that regarding exercise, it might be that you haven’t found the right exercise for you yet.
One thing that might help you decide: are you a team player or are you a “lone wolf”?
Group based exercise works for people who like external accountability (“I make it to team sports because I don’t want to let me team down . . . “). Other reasons may be that you enjoy banter with others or that you like the competitive element.
For a “lone wolf”, actually doing something that gets you out and gives you time alone can be the thing you are after. For some people this might be visiting the local swimming pool, for other’s it’s the being outside in the fresh air that can make all the difference.
Some ideas that can help get us started . . .
There are so many different kinds of activities that are available locally. There are heaps of free or low-cost activities that you can tap into, for most of them you don’t even have to join a gym.
- Outdoor: Health walks – seek out your local park, nature reserve or your nearest Health Walk
- Outdoor: Green gyms are free gym equipment located in park areas around the country. Combine the work out with some fresh air
- Outdoor: cycling – all it might take is for you to get your bike out of the shed and road worthy again
- Zumba / aqua Zumba – a fun way of getting moving, alongside others and with upbeat music. In addition, some Zumba classes even take place in the pool, making it lower impact but adding the water resistance
- Ball sports: football, handball, volleyball, netball, basketball – take your pick
- Water based exercise (especially good if you have joint issues or feel your weight is making it too hard to exercise otherwise. Examples: Aqua fit, Aqua Zumba)
- Music based exercise – dancing, Zumba
- Core strengthening exercises: Pilates, Yoga (again relatively low impact while developing your core strength
- Muscle building exercise: lifting weights, resistance exercises
There are also several organisations offering more group specific ways of exercising:
- Achieve Oxfordshire (ourselves!) – We offer places on the Man V Fat Football league. This is a men’s only weight loss programme where once joining a league, you play a 30 minute weekly game and for every pound lost in your team, you score points before you even hit the pitch! To find out if you’re eligible, head to our Get Started page.
- Age UK Oxfordshire has developed a local services called Generation Games– offering a range of exercise groups for over 50s, or for people with specific health conditions such as Parkinson’s, Stroke and MS.
- MIND has started a range of groups that promote physical activity as part of mental wellbeing. Why not check out their local offers here.
- Go Active promote a wide range of fantastic activities to take par tin across Oxfordshire. You can search by your local area here. In addition, Go Active Get Healthy works to support people with diabetes to take up physical activity, which you can find more here.
The fact you have read up to here tells me that you might be motivated to become more active. As a result, I am challenging you to answer the following questions before you move on: what is the next step that you are committing to take from here to move more?
Frauke, March 2019
Looking for more support?
You can start your own journey today. It takes less than two minutes to apply for one of our free weight loss programmes. Visit our Get Started page to find out more.