Exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid shows how easy it can be to burn more kilojoules – without having to think about it!
Have you ever stopped to think about how active you are in a day? If you‘re like the majority of Australians, there’s a good chance you’re not active enough. According to the 2004–2005 National Health Survey, 70 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over don’t get enough exercise. No wonder rates of obesity, diabetes and depression are rising.
Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, we should see it as a pathway to better health. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can deliver terrific health benefits, and can be easily slotted into even the most hectic lifestyle.
8 simple ways to get more active
Buy a pedometer This is a great motivational tool for boosting physical activity. A review of 26 studies found that wearing a pedometer for 18 weeks resulted in a 27 per cent increase in physical activity, as well as significant reductions in systolic blood pressure and body mass index. Aim for 10,000 steps a day for general health.
Work out while on the phone There’s a reason they are called ‘mobile’ phones – so don’t just sit there as you chat on – walk! And if you’re on a landline, do a circuit of squats, step-ups (onto a stack of two telephone books), calf raises and lunges. If you really want a challenge, practice balancing on one leg while touching your toe with the opposite hand. Just don’t get tangled up in the cord!
Choose active entertainment Too often we think that catching up with friends and family means we need to eat and drink as we entertain, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Arrange to meet at your local park, beach or walking track, and walk while you talk.
Make dinner from scratch Forget convenience foods and takeaways and spend time preparing your meals from scratch instead. Yes, it may take a little more time, but you’re not wasting time; you’re burning energy (and kilojoules) as you move more and enjoy healthier food too.
Ditch the remote Isn’t it ironic that we’ll spend 10 minutes searching around for a lost TV remote when it takes just a few seconds to change the channel by hand? Instead, pretend the remote is ‘lost’ by removing the batteries, then get up from your couch potato position and walk to the television. Give yourself an extra workout by performing 10 squats each time you get up.
Wash your own car It’s tempting to drop off your car at the local car wash and sip a latte while five other people get their morning workout, but you’ll benefit more by doing it yourself (not to mention saving money). So, throw on some old clothes, crank up the radio and scrub away while you soak up some vitamin D.
Start a training group with work colleagues Having workout buddies increases your motivation to exercise, since it’s harder to miss a workout if someone else is counting on you. So, form a training group with two or three work colleagues and step away from your desk at lunchtime to expend some energy.
Multi-task Instead of sitting motionless during your favourite TV show, use the time to stretch, practise yoga, use a piece of fitness equipment, complete a strength-training program or even do the ironing. make your television viewing more active and you’ll boost your kJ burning every day.
Paying a cleaner
15 minutes of mopping
Paying a cleaner
30 minutes of vacuuming
Shopping online and getting it delivered
1 hour of grocery shopping
4 hours of moving house
1 hour of preparing and cooking dinner
550kJ (not including the kJs you save by skipping the takeaway dish!)
Paying to have your car cleaned while you drink coffee