Adopt An Active Lifestyle

When it comes to physical activity, every little helps. Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, is easier than you think.

It can include anything from gardening to cycling part of your journey to the office, says Nicki Waterman, The Sun's fitness expert.

“You don’t have to do it all in one go,” says Waterman. “Shorter bursts of activity throughout the day all add up to the total amount.”

For the activity to count towards your 30 minutes, it should make you feel slightly out of breath and warm.

Write your 30 minutes of activity into a diary. It will help you stay focused and motivate you throughout the week.

“A diary will help you to plan and manage your physical activity,” says Waterman. “This will help you get into the habit of doing some sort of physical activity everyday and keeping fit will become part of your routine.”

Here are Waterman’s top tips for building exercise into your lifestyle:

The office worker

• Cycle or walk part, if not all, of your journey to work. Get off one bus or tube stop before your final destination.
• Brainstorm project ideas with a colleague at work while taking a walk.
• Stand while talking on the telephone.
• Walk over to someone at work to speak to them rather than using the phone.
• Take the stairs instead of the lift or get off a few floors early and use the stairs the rest of the way.
• Go for a walk during your lunch break. Try to find different walks and alternate between them during the week.
• Use your lunch break to exercise. Your office may have a gym or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or racket club.

The busy mum

• Walk your children to and from school. This will also help your kids to develop an early pattern of physical activity.
• Exercise with your child.
• Take them to the swimming pool or play in the garden or park.
• As unappealing as it sounds, housework is a good workout, but it depends what pace you do it at. The most demanding activities include vacuuming, mopping, changing the bed linen, cleaning the windows, and scrubbing the bath and oven. “Put on some upbeat music,” says Waterman. “That’ll get you going and help keep your pace up.”

New parents

• New parents often find they no longer have any time for exercise. But there are ways of squeezing it in, even with the demands of a baby.
• If you’re going for a run, take the baby with you. There are baby wraps and baby backpacks, and jogging strollers have improved. There are also ways to take your baby with you when you're riding your bike.
• Try to exercise during your lunch break at work. You can do a lot in half an hour.
• Your workplace may have a gym where you can sign up for lunchtime fitness classes. There may also be a swimming pool or racket club nearby.

Previously active

• Start off by reminding yourself why you were previously active, what your motivations were and what you got out of it.
• Choose an activity you enjoy.
• Don't try to jump straight back into exercise with the same intensity, frequency and duration you previously had.
• If you've been inactive for several years you need to start slowly and work your way up.
• The health benefits of physical activity are lost within 100 days of stopping exercise. The good news is, your experience of exercise will help you get back in it quicker than someone who's never been active.


• As you get older it becomes even more important to stay active. This will help you remain mobile and independent well into the later years of life.
• Be active around the house. Cooking, housework and walking while you're on the phone all help to keep you mobile.
• Work in the garden or mow the grass. Pushing, bending, squatting, carrying, digging, pruning and picking things up will all work different muscle groups, improve your balance and boost your co-ordination.
• Go out for a short walk. Start with five to 10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes, picking up the pace from leisurely to brisk.
• Consider community-based activities in your area.
• Conservation groups can be a great way to get involved in improving your local environment and being active at the same time.


• Encourage children to take part in regular physical activity. This can include sports at school or in the community, such as rollerblading, running, swimming, football or rugby.
• Make physical activity part of your child's routine.
• Walk or cycle short distances, rather than driving.
• Plan walks in the park.
• Use stairs instead of escalators or lifts.
• Get children to help you with the housework.
• Try to be a good role model: if you're physically active, your child is more likely to follow your example.

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