5 ways to get moving this National Fitness Day
Incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into our everyday lives can be difficult with our busy schedules, yet keeping active plays an important role in our long term health. Here are our 5 tips to get moving without the 6am wake-up calls for the gym.
Today is National Fitness Day, a day where the UK is encouraged to take part in a new physical activity and see the benefits it can bring to our lives, both physically and mentally.
Considering recent statistics, the need to get the UK moving is more important than ever as a survey by the World Health Organisation has found that the UK is ranked 123rd out of 168 nations for physical inactivity (1).
Incorporating exercise into our daily routine not only helps to maintain a healthy weight, but it can also help prevent more than 20 common health conditions, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer by 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30% (2).
However, for most of us, our busy work schedules take up a large proportion of our weekly routine. And with sedentary jobs becoming increasingly common, finding the time to fit in a 30-minute body combat class during the day is often placed at the bottom of our priority list.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day to get the benefits of an active lifestyle. Here are 5 tips on how to get moving after National Fitness Day without the 6am alarms to get to the gym.
We all know we should be taking the stairs instead of the lift, but how often do we do it? Swapping the lift for the staircase is a simple yet effective way to increase your heart rate and daily step count. Start by taking the stairs once a day then build it up until it becomes a habit.
On your feet
Many jobs, especially office-based roles, involve hours of sitting at a desk with little movement throughout the day. It has been reported that British people spend 8.9 hours of their day sitting down. Such long periods of sedentary behaviour have been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health (3). Therefore, ensuring you are up on your feet during the day is very important.
To decrease your risk of such conditions, you could invest in a standing desk, stand during phone calls, or better yet, have standing or walking meetings with your colleagues. Evidence also suggests that spending more time on your feet can increase productivity and improve performance within the workplace (4).
Lunch break workout
Do you often find yourself eating your lunch at your desk whilst attempting to reply to emails? It’s a common issue in today’s workforce yet your assigned lunch break is a perfect time to incorporate exercise into your day.
Many gyms now offer dedicated lunch break gym classes, but even just getting outside with your colleagues for a walk can help you reach your daily 30-minute exercise goal. Maybe you could organise a friendly competition with your colleagues to see who can do the most steps during the day.
Cycle to work
Leave the car at home and cycle to work. Most workplaces now offer their employees the opportunity to sign up to a cycle-to-work scheme which allows employees to purchase a brand-new bike through a salary sacrifice payment plan. This not only saves money on commuting, but it can also improve cardiovascular function, mental wellbeing and energy (5).
One stop early
Long commutes and busy work schedules make it difficult to commit to cycling to work but, if possible, try to find ways to make at least part of your trip more active.
Get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Or how about parking your car just that little bit further away from the office? You might feel the benefit of having a little extra time to think before your hectic day ahead.
National Fitness Day might only be one day of the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take these easy steps to get more active year-round.
How about measuring your fitness starting point with our Baseline Fitness Blood Test, a simple at-home finger-prick test which provides you with a baseline level of your health so that you can track improvements as you implement lifestyle changes?
In aid of National Fitness Day, we have savings of up to 25% on all fitness tests until the end of the month.
1. Guthold, R., Stevens, G., Riley, L. and Bull, F. (2018). Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1·9 million participants. The Lancet Global Health, 6(10), pp. e1077-e1086.
2. Hills, A., Andersen, L. and Byrne, N. (2011). Physical activity and obesity in children. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, pp.866-870.
3. Biswas, A., Oh, P., Faulkner, G., Bajaj, R., Silver, M., Mitchell, M. and Alter, D. (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association with Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), p.123.
4. Active Working (2019). Costs of Prolonged Sitting to the Employer, Costs of Absenteeism, Cost of Presenteeism. [online] Getbritainstanding.org. Available at: http://www.getbritainstanding.org/sitting-cost.php [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].
5. Vaughan, A. (2019). Burn Calories by Cycling. [online] Weightlossresources.co.uk. Available at: https://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/burning_calories/cycling-burns-calories.htm [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].