Increasing physical activity for many is difficult and encouragement and ideas are often needed about integrating activity into daily life.

There are many ways of increasing activity and walking is one of the easiest. If 30 minutes all at once seems too much, then try short bouts in the day such as 10 minutes and try to build that up over time. For example:

  • Leave the car at home for short trips to shops or friends

  • Walk to school with the children when you can

  • Park the car when used, at the far side of a car park

  • If commuting, get off the train or bus one or two stops early to fit in a walk to work

  • Avoid lifts and escalators – use the stairs

  • Use a standing desk to work from, these can be used both standing or sitting as they have a hydraulic system attached

  • Get up from a desk to walk across the office to speak to a colleague rather than phone or email

  • Promote and support standing meetings. (Standing burns 15 calories an hour compared to 5 an hour sitting)

  • Have a walking meeting

  • Read your tablet on top of the filing cabinet

  • At home or work if you have a cordless phone, walk and talk

  • Meet friends for a walk

  • Use an exercise bike whist watching TV; don’t store it in the spare room!

Around the house many jobs involve activity and can help get you going:

  • Cleaning and polishing furniture, floors and windows.

  • Vacuuming

  • Many gardening activities, such as cutting the grass or the hedge.

  • Brushing the yard or raking up leaves.

  • Washing and polishing the car by hand.

  • DIY – carpentry, sanding, painting, building etc.

There are many other activities but most important is finding a form of exercise that the individual finds enjoyable, social and achievable.

  • Walking – walk with a friend or join a walking group. Walk4life has information on local walks and walking groups for many areas. There are also health walks, which are short led walks in most local areas

  • Cycling – many cycle paths have or are being developed across the UK and it is a fun activity for all the family. Sustrans has the National Cycle Network map freely available

  • Cycle or walk around your local park – getting outside and being in green space can help you feel better, there are also lots of things to see as well, like wildlife, other people and flowers

  • Dance – increasingly popular, enjoyable and social with many alternative types such as salsa, zumba, line dancing and ballroom.

  • Swimming – traditional fun for the family and water aerobics for some. Try to swim a little longer each time and try not to take too many rests

  • Golf – 18 holes is five miles on most courses or even pitch and putt with the children

  • Tennis, squash, badminton – many clubs and courts all around the country for fun and competition.

  • Football – the nation’s most popular sport, so get out with your children and kick a ball again!

  • Walking football is becoming popular, a new activity for older people or those who cannot run any more

  • Marshall arts are popular and improve strength and flexibility as well as cardiac fitness

  • Yoga and Pilates – excellent activities for flexibility, core strength and posture to relieve and prevent many back problems.

Remember every activity counts.


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