General Health Thursday October 25, 2012

How to stay active this autumn

Now that summer has come to it’s end, many of us are willing to admit that it’s difficult to be as active as we’d like to be at this time of year. However, for those of us who are working towards our goal weight or would simply like to ensure that our bones and cardiovascular system remains in shape, not doing exercise isn’t always an option. Because we understand this all too well, we’ve found a list of potential methods and tips of staying in shape in spite of the elements, however, before you do any kind of exercise it’s always best to speak to your doctor, especially if you have an existing health condition.

When you commute make the most of it

This will largely be dependent on the weather, but on days where it’s possible, it might be worth cycling in to work or simply getting off the bus a few stops earlier. If you’ve never walked to work or cycled in, maybe try and do a test run over a weekend, so that on days when it is feasible, you are able to do it. The NHS recommends around 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking a week and some form of resistance or weight training at least twice a week.

Try and see if you can keep track of how much you do a week, making an effort to maintain this goal with your activity level.

Try and stand rather than sit

Ideally the aim should be not to hibernate, but to take every opportunity to be active, even if it’s just to stand on the bus or train on your way to work. In a person of average weight, standing burns around one calorie a minute, and this increases if a person weighs more.

Use a yoga or Pilates ball as a chair

Even just sitting upright during your day can help burn additional calories, but sitting on a Pilates ball can help stabalise core muscles and has been proven to aid concentration. It is thought that because you’re subconsciously adjusting your core to keep you stable, it focuses the mind and increases the amount of time you are able to concentrate for.

Make sure you warm up and dress warm

If you decide to brave the cold and go for a run, walk or take part in outside activities it’s important to ensure that you warm up for at least 10 minutes before you do any high-intensity exercise. So, for example, to warm up for your run you can have a brisk 10-minute walk beforehand to ensure that you avoid injury.

Since it’s more than likely it’ll be dark when you go out for your walk, ensure that you dress warmly, perhaps wearing thermal running wear that’s reflective so that you aren’t at risk of not being seen by traffic.

Choose the right activity and stick to it

The NHS recommends that, during the winter months, you take on an indoor activity that you’ve never tried before, something that you’ll be able to do on a regular basis. This will ensure that you aren’t likely to get bored and that you have something to look forward to that can help you beat the winter blues. You could even choose to join a five-a-side football team to ensure that you stay motivated or find a squash partner. Swimming, Judo, table tennis, Zumba or fencing are also good winter activities.

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