Rise up and get going with our PT-approved tips to be more active every day
Whether we’re chained to a desk or struggle to find the time to exercise, we’re all guilty of sitting down more than we should. But, with new research revealing that physical inactivity is responsible for over three million preventable deaths worldwide each year, we think it’s time to switch up our sedentary lifestyles. Follow these simple hacks from our experts to incorporate more movement into your day.
1. Do your own food shop
Online shopping is easy and convenient, but it can be quite a sedentary task as it requires very little movement. Plus, it turns out bagging our virtual fruit and veg can wreak havoc not only on our waistlines, but our wallets too. Supermarkets that deliver will offer spendingbased discounts and suggest items that you may have ‘forgotten’, adding to your food bill. Celebrity trainer and co-founder of Equilibrium, Niko Algieri (@wearequilibrium), suggests doing your own food shop, so you move around more and pick the produce for yourself. “Go to the supermarket, pack the food that you’ll consume for the week and carry it all home,” says Niko. “Think of it like ‘the farmer carry’ [an exercise move that involves lifting a weight and walking with it], as it’s an efficient way of doing a full-body workout.” Bags for life at the ready!
2. Take the stairs
You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but we’ll say it again: taking the stairs instead of the escalator or lift is an easy way to increase your heart rate and build lower body muscle mass. “The average person burns around four and a half calories climbing to the next floor,” explains head trainer at F45 Milton Keynes Central, Matt Wilman (f45training.co.uk). “So, if you work on the third floor and climb up and down the stairs three times a day, that adds up a significant calorie burn over the course of the week.” For more benefits, instructor at Digme Fitness, Lucy Gornall (digmefitness.com), suggests firing up your glute muscles by giving them a squeeze. “You can do this when you’re on the escalator, too. Instead of standing and letting yourself glide up and down, why not walk instead?”
3. Schedule walking meetings
You know the drill: work-related meetings involve a lot of sitting, but there’s a good reason Public Health England is urging staff to conduct meetings on foot. “By suggesting walking meetings, you can escape the office environment and get a breath of fresh air,” explains Pilates teacher, Kerrie-Anne Bradley (pilateswithka.com). And it’s not just your step count that will thank you, as Kerrie-Anne suggests your best ideas can come from a small brainstorming sesh: “Movement yields circulation; circulation yields energy and energy gets creative juices flowing.” Lucy agrees, adding that if the meeting doesn’t require a presentation or screen, walking and talking could be the way to go. “Meetings that are sat down can be incredibly draining and tiring, so being outside will clear your head and give your mind a boost.”
4. Invest in a tracker
It seems as though you can track everything these days, from steps to sleep and heart rate to periods. In light of this around-the-clock care, some wearable tech has been accused of going too far, but when used to get you moving more, Lucy says they’re worth your pennies. “Invest in a tracker and wear it every day. Most trackers now alert you when you’ve been sat for too long every hour, so as soon as you feel that vibration on your wrist, you’ll feel inclined to stand up and walk around.” Not willing to part with your cash? “Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour during waking hours, which will encourage you to stand up and have a walk.”
5. Keep a glass of water by your desk
Tea and coffee are considered the drinks of choice in a work environment, and while a warm cuppa can seem like a daily ritual, drinking water may be a better option. Can’t face making the switch? Kerrie-Anne Bradley has a simple hack to make it more manageable. “Keep a glass on your desk, rather than a bottle,” she says. “This way you’ll need to get up more to refill the glass and if you’re drinking eight of those a day, that’s a lot of getting up and down!” Water reduces headaches, helps to flush out toxins in the body and aids concentration, but if you want to make yours more exciting, try infusing it with fresh fruit, such as lemon and lime or strawberry and mint for a burst of flavour.
6. Use your lunch break
A lunch break can help maintain your energy levels and boost productivity for the rest of the afternoon. A new study has shown that more than a third of British employees don’t leave their desks at all during their lunch hour. Lucy wants to encourage us to utilise this time better by taking a brisk 20-minute walk. “It’s a chance to rack up some serious steps, increase your heart rate and give your eyes a break from screens,” she states. Wearing heels to work? “Leave a pair of trainers in the office or carry some in a tote bag so you can really get a pace on when walking.”
7. Walk, like, everywhere
“If it’s less than a 10-minute journey, ask yourself if you really need to drive – it’s better for your health (and the planet) if you leave the car at home,” states Matt. And what if driving to work is unavoidable? “When going to work or about your daily routine, try actively parking a little farther from your office block or destination – you may even be able to park at a cheaper rate. If you use public transport, get off a stop or two early. You’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit and you might even find a new coffee shop on your new route. You’ll never know if you’re stuck in the car!”