Whether it’s a walk to work or a cycle to the shop, moving more seems so much easier when the mercury rises. Below, we’ve rounded up 26 ideas to help you learn how to be more active throughout the day while the warm weather lasts…
There’s a reason why your local PT swears by moving more in an unstructured way: it’s all very well going to the gym for an hour, but what about the other 23 hours? Data shows that the average UK adult spends around nine hours a day sitting down, whether that’s at work, while watching the TV or in the car on the daily commute.
Unfortunately, it’s this lack of daily activity that could have a significant effect on your health and fitness. So, what’s the answer? NEPA, or non-exercise physical activity. NEPA simply means moving more. Indeed, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines report recommends breaking up long periods of sitting time with activity for just one-to-two minutes.
It doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated, and it’s not a replacement for your normal exercise routine. It’s simply a matter of making a few tweaks to your daily schedule that could lead to a considerable increase in movement. The net result is a greater calorie deficit, boosted blood flow around the body and a more positive state of mind. Want in? Here’s how to be more active throughout the day…
How to be more active every day: 26 ways to move
1. Set step targets on your phone or watch
Having a visual reference for your daily steps can be a great way to boost your awareness of daily movement.
2. Invest in a stand-up desk to be more active throughout the day
Not only is this better for posture but it will also allow you to move more whilst performing admin tasks.
3. Ditch the car where possible and walk or cycle instead
This may mean an earlier wake-up time but your body will appreciate the extra stimulation. Even if it’s not for work, anything within a mile radius could (and should) be travelled to on foot.
4. Park the car further away
Driving to work your only choice? Then park further away from the office so that you can take those important steps from car to desk.
5. Introduce a daily stretching routine to your schedule
Although this doesn’t burn a significant amount of calories, it will improve your mobility for a more effective workout later on, and certain moves can even challenge your core.
6. Carry a resistance band
Bring a resistance band with you on long trips or to work, then perform resistance exercises when you get a spare 10 minutes.
7. Join a lunchtime fitness or yoga class near your office
This will up your feeling of accountability to move and add structure to your weekly routine.
8. Exercise with a friend
Whether it’s at the gym or on a lunchtime walk around the park. Knowing someone is expecting you means you’ll be more likely to turn up, plus it also introduces a competitive element that could push you harder.
9. Limit your use of lifts and elevators
Have to use the lift to get to your office? Get out two or three levels lower and take the stairs for the remainder of the distance.
10. Walk to get lunch instead of ordering
Food will take 15-to-20 minutes, minimum, to turn up, so why not walk to collect your lunch, instead? You’ll save money on delivery fees and increase your calorie expenditure.
11. Increase your walking speed to be more active
For example, a 150lb woman walking slowly at 2mph burns approximately 72 calories per half hour. If she picks up the pace to 3.5mph (a moderately brisk pace), she burns 136 calories for the same time.
12. Learn to skip…
Not only is skipping a great activity the whole family can do but, when you jump repeatedly, your body burns 800-1,000 calories an hour (compared to 200-300 calories burned per hour while walking).
13….then skip between sets at the gym
If you have a total of 10 minutes rest time within your workout, then that’s a minimum of an extra 130 calories burned. This can be a great addition if your main fitness goal is to burn calories.
14. Create a fitness social group
Create a group on your iWatch (or a similar app) and monitor each others’ calorie expenditure. Compete for the best weekly output. This is a great way to make calorie expenditure fun, pushing yourself in those moments where you would usually opt for the sofa instead.
15. Add plyometric moves to your day
Focus on incorporating more plyometric (jumping) movements to your daily routine – you could even squat jump while the kettle boils! Plyometric exercises are more anaerobic than non-jumping cardio moves, and great for upping fitness.
16. Learn a new skill such as gymnastics or kickboxing
Adding an element of skill acquisition is a great way to shift your focus away from how difficult the movement actually is, making it more fun and increasing the likelihood of continuing.
17. Focus on completing weekly gardening tasks
Gardening burns around 300 calories per hour, making it a great moderate-intensity exercise option.
18. Set movement reminders on your watch or phone to be more active
A day can quickly become cluttered with tasks, but your movement is still important. Setting reminders is a great way to stay on top of your movement goals. Don’t miss out on doing the tasks that will improve your wellbeing, too.
19. Combine fitness and admin
Need to catch up on emails? Take an iPad or your phone with you to the gym and get them done whilst sitting on a bike. Even at a low intensity, you can burn a considerable amount of calories over an extended period of time.
20. Grab coffee on-the-go to be more active
Catching up with friends? Take a walk with them whilst grabbing a coffee instead of sitting down. Maintain a moderate walking pace and you’ll burn roughly five calories per minute whilst still being able to hold a conversation normally. It doesn’t just have to be a walk-and-talk, however; head to a museum together, play a game of golf without the buggy or explore your closest city.
21. Set a daily ‘push-up, squat and crunch’ goal
There’s no equipment needed and it’s a great way to kickstart your day with some basic movement patterns. I recommend doing this after your morning stretches, increasing the rep count from week to week:
- 1st week: 20 reps
- 2nd week: 30 reps
- 3rd week: 40 reps
22. Walk and talk whilst on phone calls
Fancy a WhatsApp with a good friend? Thirty minutes of walking will fly by!
23. Work out whilst watching TV
Have a bit of cardio equipment you can drag into the living room? Great! If not, there are tonnes of simple bodyweight workouts you can find online that will do the job.
24. Get moving during adverts
Don’t feel like working out whilst watching your programmes? Try adding a round of planks during the ad breaks.
25. Get creative with your time
Why stand still and wait eight minutes for your pasta to boil when you can do four one-minute bodyweight squats with a minute of rest in-between each set?
26. Divide your time efficiently to be more active
If you struggle to find a spare 45 minutes to work out, split your workout into three 15-minute blocks. For example, do 15 minutes of cardio in the morning, 15 minutes of cardio after lunch, and 15 minutes of cardio in the evening.
Let us know how you stay active every day by tagging us on Instagram @womensfitnessuk!
Words: Josh Ivory | Images: Shutterstock