Try these three simple tricks to get more exercise into your day without spending hours at the gym.
Walk your friend or neighbour’s dog
Getting motivated can be a challenge, however when you offer to do something for a friend letting them down can make you feel worse than the dread of going to the gym so promising something to someone could be the way forward. Why not ask your neighbour if you can walk their dog a couple of nights a week, they might welcome the extra time themselves and you not only get fit and have more motivation but you’ll gain a cute companion for your walks (or runs). Also, if you have a friend that lives nearby you can walk to their house, walk their dog and walk home, giving you even more fitness points than walking a neighbours dog!
Be careful though, you need to set strict rules otherwise you may find that said neighbour or friend takes advantage of you, and don’t let dogs off the lead until they are familiar with you, you may find yourself going for an unprepared sprint if they decide to wander off.
If no one you know has pets you can always find one in your area through websites such as http://www.borrowmydoggy.com and www.walkmydog.co.uk, but be careful to find owners and their pets through safe channels and never do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Get a fitness band
I’m an advocate of a fitness watch, not only does it show me exactly how much work I’m putting in I’ve managed to make some nice friends, who motivate me to do more. I’m a competitive person, so it also helps to push me when I’m not as active. There is a certain level of guilt that comes with a fitness watch though as when the numbers aren’t growing you feel the need to get up and move, even if it’s late at night or after a big dinner – so be warned.
Some bands, such as the Fitbit, have an amazing community through the app which allows you to challenge other Fitbiters and compete for the bragging rights and your profile is set up via your email address so even though you can add strangers they won’t get any personal information. Do your research and find out which one is for you as you might find that your needs are different to someone else’s and you might need a Jawbone opposed to a Microsoft Band or Pulsar watch.
Prices vary but some website sell decent watches from £50 and they come in all colours, shapes and wrist sizes, and each usually monitors a whole host of different aspects of your fitness.
Go out of your way
One way of getting more steps in is to consciously go out of your way to do more, and just small changes can make all the difference. For instance, I started walking a longer route to and from work, the longer route adds 20-30 minutes on to my journey and therefore is a minimum of 40 minutes extra per day. In step terms I’m walking at least 4,000 steps more per day than I normally do just by leaving the house a little bit earlier. That is an extra 20,000 steps in my week, meaning I’m walking on average 70,000 steps per my five-day week opposed to the recommended 50,000.
So, instead of driving the full half an hour to work, why not park in a car park further away in the morning and walk 10 minutes to work, or if you walk to work already, do 10 laps around the car park before you set off home, double check the aisles in the supermarket to make sure you haven’t forgotten something on your list by walking up and down them one last time before you leave, or take the scenic walk home through the park and enjoy the fresh air.
Little changes make a difference.