Exercise to energise!

We might all be forgiven for thinking the word ‘exercise’ can feel a little daunting. But it’s easier than you think to find ways to incorporate some activity into your everyday routine and discover that it’s really quite simple to embrace the positives of exercise.

You can bring exercise right to the very heart of your life, making it an integral part – rather than an occasional bolt-on – of everything you do and the way you view the world. By doing so, exercise can become fun and invigorating, rather than a chore.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong, of course, with regular gym sessions using weights or on a running or rowing machine – that’s a great way of keeping active – but if you are looking for a different kind of inspiration, there are many other ways to start enjoying the benefits of a healthier routine.

Most car journeys are less than a mile.

As examples of aerobic activity, which is essentially any moderately intensive activity undertaken for a prolonged period, we are usually told about fast walking, running or team sports. But housework – anything from running the vacuum cleaner around the house, doing a burst of spring-cleaning, painting that room you’ve been meaning to get round to, or tidying up the garage and lifting the boxes up to the loft – is another way of getting your heart rate going and burning calories. Spending time in the garden, maybe weeding a flowerbed or mowing the lawn, is not only a positive improvement to your life but a great chance to exercise in the fresh air.

Here are some figures for you: just 20- to 30- minutes of washing the windows, an hour or so of raking up leaves, or cleaning the car at the weekend all use up to 100 calories each.

Here’s another useful statistic: most car journeys are less than a mile. In other words, it’s well worth considering making the trip on foot instead. It’s good for the environment and for you, and is something you can share with family and friends. Walking with the kids to school once or twice a week, or to the shops for groceries, is a simple way of adding a little more physical activity into your day.

Encouraging all the family, especially your children, to join you in this new attitude to exercise will give both you and them a boost. If you can get them cycling with you, swimming with you, or just running about in the nearest green space to let off some steam and energy, you should feel good about setting them a positive example and helping instil in them a lifetime of good, healthy habits.

Sharing the fun with other people helps make exercise something to look forward to. Using exercise as a way to connect socially is another really positive way of realising how it can be an uplifting part of your life. You’ll build your own understanding of how exercise can be positive for you, and those around you; and stop seeing it as something to you want to avoid.

In all these ways you can make those gradual changes that do not disrupt everything else you want to do, but which can have such a long-term positive effect.