I know the word exercise fills some people with dread. The thought of running around like a lunatic in all weathers, or slogging your guts out in a gym doesn't do it for everyone, and that's fine. So, how can we reach the recommended daily goal, of 30 minutes a day, without it feeling like a chore?
There are plenty of ways you can sneak exercise into your life, it's a bit like hiding vegetables in the kid’s tea, you won’t notice it but it will be good for you. If you like what you are doing, then you are more likely to want to do it again. Exercise can be fun, you can get the whole family doing it and you might just enjoy it.
I know, it sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
Here are my top tips on how to move more and have fun.
If you have a dog, there's a great excuse to up your step count. If not, take the kids for a walk in the countryside, on the beach, or to the park. Don't like walking? Think it's boring? How about a scavenger hunt with the kids.The trick is you have to join in. No watching from afar, get stuck in and have some fun. Not only will this get you fitter, your children will remember the time they spend with you. Do you drive places that are in walking distance? Leave the car at home for that doctor's appointment, or that visit to a friends, or walk to the shop. Just small steps like this WILL make a difference.
This can be done on your own or as a family. Instead of sticking on a DVD, that promises to get your bum into whatever shape is fashionable that month, stick your favourite songs on instead. Create a playlist that will run for 30 minutes and you're ready to go. Remember those tunes you loved when you were younger? Get them turned up and let yourself go. Have a good dance and again if the kids are involved they will love it. Make sure you sweat too, there's no point slow stepping round the living room, your heart rate needs to be pumping. If you love dancing, why not join a class? Do the things you love and you will be happier for it.
Now, I know I said this would be fun however, I happen to know a few people that actually like doing housework. For those of us that don't, well it has to be done anyway, so why not try and enjoy it? Put a bit more effort into it and think how you could make it more like exercise. Doing the laundry? Why not have your pile at the top of the stairs, basket at the bottom and run up for each item and back again. Like a washing relay. Running upstairs is a fantastic way to keep fit, just be careful not to slip. Think of the arm toning that goes on when you're cleaning the windows, great for getting rid of bingo wings. Don't forget the music, we work better with music, especially something with a fast beat.
I'm not talking about going to the gym and lifting, although if it's something you think you would like, then go. Everybody takes part in a bit of weight lifting in their weekly routines, even if it's just carrying the shopping home, or holding the baby. Make it fun, look up some exercises on the internet that involve weights and improvise. Use a couple of tins of beans to start off, and before you know it you will have progressed to full bags of shopping, or weighted squats while holding your baby. Just don't forget to stretch afterwards or you will stiffen up and ache. Again, there are plenty of stretches you can do, just look it up.
I'm not talking Scrabble here either. Get to the Pound shop, they sell loads of fun stuff at this time of year, for all the family to play together. Get out with your kids and play some football. Don't like football? Play tennis. Don't like tennis? Have a game of rounders, not enough players? Grab a frisbee, there are loads of ways you can play and have fun. I like the sticky ball game, that involves a soft ball and two stupid hats with Velcro on them. The aim of the game is to throw the ball and your partner catches it on their head. Very funny and guess what? Laughing's good for you too, so be stupid, have a laugh and play with your kids.
Those are a few ways that you can move more, without feeling like you are sticking to a rigorous routine. Couple these activities with a healthy diet and you WILL see a difference I promise.
I will post some more deliciously healthy recipes very soon.