If, like me, your early experience of being active revolved around those dreaded PE classes where you were the last to be picked for the team and you still associate physical activity with pain, rejection and humiliation you might benefit from some simple ideas to help you to create a more active lifestyle.
Being active doesn’t mean you have to be cold, bored, or wear a silly PE skirt. It can even be fun! You don’t even need to find huge chunks of time to go to the gym, or to spend hours a day working on your fitness (unless, of course, you want to.)
In fact the easiest way to create an active lifestyle is to take little steps in the right direction so that activity is something you do as part of your general life, rather than something you have to find time to do. Or worse, another chore!
Set yourself up for success
If you like going to the gym or swimming, it is useful to have the kit you need to go all ready and to hand so you can quickly go to the gym or pool without having to find where you put your goggles or find your other trainer, or scurry around looking for your gym shorts or your headphones. Regular swimmers may find it useful to have 2 or 3 swimsuits so you can always pop a clean one and a clean towel into your bag every time.
If you need to drive to your gym because it is too far away to walk, maybe try keeping your kit in the car boot ready for when you need it! Maybe keep your membership card in a separate purse in your gym bag so it’s always ready for action when you need it.
For those of you who like to go for walks in the park, always make sure you have some suitable footwear and a good waterproof coat to hand so that if you do get a few minutes to spare you can quickly change your shoes and go for a walk.
Always having the right gear in the right place at the right time helps you be able to get active when inspiration strikes. Often the very thought of having to go in search of ‘stuff’ is enough to make us slump back on the sofa in despair. So give yourself a chance and set yourself up for success!
Dance whilst the kettle boils
Whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, put on some upbeat music and get dancing.
Dancing improves not only your activity levels but can also lift your mood! If you have a music streaming system like Spotify you will be able to create your own playlist with your favourite songs to dance along to! Being active can be great fun!
Meet a friend and go for a walk!
Instead of meeting a friend for a coffee in a coffee shop why not arrange to go for a walk together instead and maybe grab a takeaway coffee or take a flask with you? This way you can get your daily step count in and be sociable at the same time!
If your friends aren’t available to meet up for a walk, go on your own! It can be wonderfully clearing to go for a brisk walk on your own.
Have a dog? Take it for a walk! Don’t have a dog? Take yourself for a walk!
If you had a dog you’d probably take it for a walk two or three times a day. If you don’t have a dog you can still go for a walk several times a day if you like. I have a ‘dog walking coat’ despite not owning a dog! I use it for going for walks in the rain.
Remember that wonderful feeling!
Do you remember a time when you did do something active and you ended up with a big smile on your face?
Maybe you came back inside after a brisk walk on a chilly day and your face started to glow and the warmth of the central heating hit you as you opened your front door?
That feeling of being happy, energised and truly alive? If you remember that feeling, it can help motivate you to get moving. Afterall we all want to feel fantastic don’t we?
Run (or rather walk!) errands on foot
If you have to run errands like going to the post office or to pop to the shop to buy bread or milk, why not walk there rather than taking the car (if it’s practical to do so!) For smaller journeys it can be so tempting to always take the car but if you have enough time, walk!
If you’re going upstairs and don’t have a mobility issue, take the stairs. Or at least take the stairs on the way down!
Find other little ways of slotting exercise and being active into your ordinary daily lifestyle.
Get outside at lunchtime if you can!
Instead of eating as you work, try eating your lunch outside when the weather is nice. Maybe go for a short walk whilst you’re out there. Get some fresh air into your lungs and let go of any of the tension from being sat at your desk! It will also stop you getting a crumby keyboard! If you have a proper break and a change of scenery you’re likely to work more productively in the afternoon!
Check what’s on your doorstep
Is there a nature reserve, woodland, lake or park nearby that you’ve not explored recently? Maybe take a flask, a blanket, a picnic or some snacks and go exploring. Take some fabulous photographs and make a day of it. Take in the sounds, colours, smells and textures whilst you’re there. Drink it all in and enjoy the experience.
Put some housework tunes on and do some housework!
Ok ok, so maybe this isn’t the most exciting way of keeping fit but housework can be great for clearing your mind whilst also getting active! On most music streaming services there are loads of fabulous playlists entitled ‘housework songs’ and they’re normally the more upbeat tunes. So get mopping or vacuuming, sweep away the cobwebs off the ceiling, and dance whilst you dust. The house will look sparkling clean in no time!
Book your active time into your diary
If you’re wanting to be more active and have a gym membership it can be useful to book your gym time into your own diary like you would any other appointment.
It can also help to go 2-3 times a week at first, rather than going 4 or 5 times in week one, twice in week two and then having the rest of the month off!
If you know which days/nights you’re going to the gym you can plan around them and you won’t be as tempted to skip as they’re in the diary.
Over to you!
As you can see, being active can seamlessly slot into your daily life and be fun too!
What are YOU going to do to be more active today?
Please let me know in the comments box below
Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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