No time to exercise? 5 easy ways to move more

Are you finding that exercise has slipped by the wayside? Perhaps a jam-packed work schedule, hectic social calendar and a busy family life has taken over. Well, there’s no need to stress.

You don’t actually need to devote an hour each day to the gym in order to reap the benefits of movement. Exercise in itself is defined as a planned, structured and ‘purposefully focused on improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness’[1]. Whilst physical activity is simply movement that requires energy; in essence any movement we do on a day-to-day basis, it’s physical activity in itself that has been shown to provide a multitude of health benefits, with a lack of movement being a risk factor for a number of chronic illnesses[2].

So, don’t be too hard on yourself if exercise sessions aren’t a priority right now. Instead, make your day a little more active with these easy tips…

Walk and talk

Need to make a call? Take it outside and clock up some steps as you talk. Not only will you take around 2400 steps during an average-pace 20 minute walk[3] but you’ll also reap the benefits of fresh air.

If you’re in the office and have a meeting scheduled with a colleague, you could even suggest catching up as you walk.

Make chores, fun

Housework is actually far more of a calorie burner than you might think. Did you know that two hours of vacuuming each week can burn around 1200 calories per month, and five hours of cooking or food prep each week can clock up around 2800 calories per month[4]!? These everyday activities require a lot of energy. They get our heart rate up and keep our bodies moving. To turn your chores into even more of a workout, try playing upbeat music. Not only does this help to distract you from the not so appealing (!) housework[5], but it’s also been shown to help you work harder[6]. Plus, having a little dance could be the secret to boosting your mood[7]; ideal after a hard day’s work!

Turn ad breaks into Movement Minutes

If your evenings involve several hours slouching on the sofa watching TV, why not make the most of ad breaks by getting up and doing 50 squats or holding a plank for the duration of the break. You could even practice a different exercise during each advert. How about a mixture of squats, lunges, press ups and sprinting on the spot?

Research has even shown how just two minutes of aerobic exercise can elicit health benefits[8]. Every little movement counts!

Always take the stairs

Make a vow to take the harder option and go up the stairs instead of getting the lift or going up the escalator. This not only helps your cardiovascular system (ever found yourself getting a little out of breath whilst climbing stairs!?), but it also works the muscles in the lower body.

There are also other little daily tweaks to help you stay active. Get off public transport a stop early and walk the rest of your journey, or even park the car a little further away from the entrance of where you need to be.

If you do plan on walking a little further than usual, be sure to pack some comfy footwear!

Set movement reminders

Do you ever find yourself sitting down for long periods of time? Research has found that prolonged periods of staying seated can lead to high blood pressure, exhaustion and musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in the shoulders, lower back, thighs and knees[9]. Setting alarms on your phone can help remind you to get up, stretch and move around a little. You don’t need to do anything vigorous; perhaps go and make a cup of tea. Breaking up periods of sitting is said to be beneficial[10] and could help to counteract the negative effects of sitting down.