Are you avoiding exercise? Do you find any excuse you can to put it off until tomorrow?
We don't need to tell you that tomorrow never comes. You need to exercise, and you need to do it today. However, we do have some good news: small bouts of exercise can help you on your way to a more active lifestyle. Every little bit counts.
More than five minutes continuous exercise a day?
If you find yourself ever increasing dodging exercise for whatever reason you are not the only one. A survey recently conducted by researchers at The University of Bristol found that one in ten adults admitted to not even managing a five minute continuous walk in the four weeks leading up to the study. In addition to this the results asking about swimming, jogging and other exercise were shockingly low, making the researchers believe that couch potatoes are very prominent in our current era.
This recent study appears to back up the findings of an earlier report which found that one in five Brits walk for 20 minutes at a stretch each year, and the researchers believe that the findings will result in a health crisis in coming years. The lack of exercise is often labelled as one of the causes for a number of health problems including diabetes, breast cancer and a fifth of coronary heart disease cases and those with history of these problems in their family really should be taking care to avoid them. Of course a lack of exercise can also aid weight gain and obesity and for anyone wanting to shed those pounds, exercise is the key.
If like the one in ten people questioned, you find it ever increasingly difficult to find time to exercise you can help yourself by doing short bursts of exercise and even that will help keep your body active and fighting against health problems. The Department of Health recommends two and a half hours of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, a week and when you break it down that equates to just over 20 minutes a day.
Just one extra minute will make a difference
Another study recently found that for women especially, small bouts of exercise can be just as effective as long periods. The study concluded that just one extra minute of exercise a day can make a difference of nearly half a pound to those watching their weight. Exercise such as taking the stairs instead of the lift and jumping off the bus one stop early daily can have the same effect as less frequent but longer gym sessions.
The results of this study were printed in the American Journal of Health Promotion and suggested that when individuals focus on intensity rather than duration for their exercise regimes, there is a lower likelihood of obesity. This likelihood is reduced by 2% for men and 5% for women.
How can you change your ways
So what can you do to ditch the weight and make yourself healthier in the process? As mentioned, using the stairs instead of the lift will make a world of difference if you do it every day, as will getting off the bus a stop early or parking further away from your building at work. For those who work from home try walking to the shop instead of jumping in the car or even just going for a ten minute stroll around the neighbourhood during you lunch break.
Squeeze in a visit to a gym when you can - nothing quite compares to a decent, thorough workout, but in the meantime you can also keep active around the house. If you are a reader, you could invest in a stationary bike and read whilst exercising. If you have kids, a simple run around the garden or a game of hide and seek inside could be just the thing to increase your activity. Even when planning your weekend day out you can do something fun and not even notice how much exercise you have achieved; visit a museum, art gallery or even do a bit of window shopping. A game of mini-golf a trip to the seaside or a countryside walk when the weather is nice will likely result in a lot of fun with a lot of exercise carried out, and yet you won’t even get out of breath.
So when you can’t stomach that long bout of exercise in the gym or that 35 minute jog you were going to do, try and substitute it for a twenty minute walk to the shop, a run around with the kids or a quick dance-off competition using that games console you rarely turn on. Chances are you will have fun or at least get a chore done whilst doing your bit of exercise for the day, and the couch will always be waiting for you when the twenty minutes is up!
by Jessica Ward
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