If you have a 9 to 5 job – count yourself lucky. Most of us clock in before 8.30 and don’t step outside the office until well after 6. With almost 10 hours of work each day from Monday to Friday, how does anyone fit exercise into their week?
It's possible. The trick is to make moving every day one of your top priorities. Here are four Fernwood HQ tried and tested ways to make squeezing in a minimum 30 minutes of daily activity a breeze:
Use your lunch breaks
Taking a midday break from your desk for a little huff ‘n puff definitely has its advantages. If you can hit the gym at lunchtime, there’s no need to rise before the sun for a morning workout session, or squeeze in a gym session after work during those last precious hours of sunlight. Working out in the middle of the day also means you’re less likely to find excuses to put off exercise between lunchtime and the end of the day.
Waking up before dawn is not everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s worth the effort, even if you only manage one 5.30am wake-up call a week. A pre-work workout will energise you for the day, help you sleep better at night, and free up your evening so you can spend more time with your friends and family. Before you hit that snooze button, know that studies have also shown you burn more kilojoules throughout the day when you do a morning workout, than you would if you did an evening workout at a similar intensity.
Our tip: schedule in one morning workout a week and gradually increase to two. Plan your a.m. exercise on days you’ll need to wash your hair that morning – or use plenty of dry shampoo pre- and post-workout for hair that looks deceptively clean.
Turn your commute into a workout
Walk, ride or scoot your way into work – even just part of the way. Getting outside in the fresh air is a wonderful way to begin each day. Start viewing your travel to work as an opportunity to move more, not an inconvenience. Plot different cafes you could walk past to pick-up your morning coffee or different bike paths you could ride along to make your way into work. Make it your mission to get to know the city better. Waking up 20 minutes earlier could turn an average day into a great adventure.
Track your steps
If you haven’t joined the Fitbit brigade or pinned a pedometer to your pants – it’s time to get on board. When you have a goal of 10,000 steps a day you’re constantly on the lookout for ways you can keep moving. If you get home from work and you’re only on 6,000 – it could be the motivation you need to take your dog for a walk on nights when you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Regular walking can improve your heart health and lower your risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, dementia, and bowel cancer. Plus, just 30 minutes a day can burn more than 500 extra kilojoules, helping you control your weight without the need for dieting. Regular walkers also report fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, meaning a walk is not just good for your body, but good for your soul, too.