It is important to be active every day. Research shows us that the more time we spend sitting and the less active we are the greater our risk of health problems such as type-2 diabetes. The National Physical Activity Guidelines encourage Australians to aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, or 75-150 minutes if it’s more vigorous exercise. This equates to 30-60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
It’s important to remember to build up to this level gradually over time, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while. Start off with a small amount and build on it each week. You can accumulate your activity over the day, so if you only have the time for short bouts you can break it up into 2 x 15 minute or 3 x 10 minute blocks.
The National Physical Activity Guidelines also encourage us to do some strength or resistance type exercise at least twice a week. You don’t need to have a gym membership to do this either. Exercises using your own body weight such as squats, lunges, calf raises, push-ups and sit ups are all great exercises to help strengthen your muscles.
Look for ways to be more active:
- Walk to the shops/ work or school
- Take the stairs not the lift
- Get off the bus or train one stop early
- Walk and chat with friends instead of going to a café
- Join a team sport or make family time family activity time
Sit less and move more
- At work leave your desk for lunch, talk to colleagues in person rather than email, set movement alerts in your day.
Set goals and monitor your progress:
- Sign up to a fun run or an event: it will motivate you to train for it
- Have a plan but make sure it realistic and measureable. For example, saying “I will go for a walk on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s for 30 minutes in my lunch break” will keep you much more accountable than saying “I will exercise more”
Track your progress by monitoring how fast you can walk over a set amount of time or try using a pedometer to track your daily steps
Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.