Good Habits: Exercising daily

by Ali on January 12, 2009

Last week, I gave you a simple good habit to adopt – eating five pieces of fruit and veg a day. How’s it going? If you’re struggling, try making a big pan of vegetable soup, or a vat of vegetable curry, and have it for dinner a couple of times this week. A large bowlful can give you five different vegetable portions in a single hit.

Today’s good habit is getting some exercise every day. Adults should be getting five sessions of 30 minutes moderate exercise each week to meet government recommendations. I find it easiest to sustain habits that are seven days a week – otherwise it’s all too easy to let one skipped day become two, then three…

Method 1: The active commute

The most straightforward way to make exercise a daily habit is to have an active commute to work and back. This isn’t possible for everyone (maybe your office is actually the spare bedroom, or perhaps you have to drive for two hours to get to work), but if you can even adjust your routine to walk a bit further to your train station or bus stop, ten – twenty minutes of daily exercise will add up over the course of a week.

Method 2: Walk during your lunch break

Another great habit to get into is taking a walk during your lunch-hour. Most of us should be able to manage that (and if you always grab a sandwich at your desk, you need to read about how to take your full lunch hour).

Method 3: Head to the gym

High intensity exercise (such as jogging or swimming) is better for you than just walking at a moderate pace. How about going straight to the gym on your way home from work – 30-40 minutes exercise then won’t take much time out of your evening. If you go home intending to head out to the gym later, chances are you’ll stay stuck on the sofa. Alternatively, if you’re a morning person, why not go for a quick swim or gym session before work?

Weekends

Once you’ve built daily exercise into your weekday routine, it’s worth also tackling the weekends. Studies have shown that most of us eat more at the weekend than during the week, and doing some extra exercise can help to counter any over-indulgences. It’s also a great way to have fun! How about joining a sports team or club, trying out a new activity with your family, or simply kicking a ball around in the park?

And if your weekend seems packed with chores, take heart: housework (especially hovering, mopping floors and other more strenuous activities) burns calories too. If you have to make a trip to the shops, cycle or walk instead of driving.

Once you’ve got into the habit of doing at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, it’s hard to break it: I know I get a bit “stir crazy” if I haven’t left the flat for a walk by lunchtime. Good luck with your exercising!

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