Five steps towards a more active and energetic you
1) Starting small
Even the most inactive among us can improve our energy levels, muscle strength and basic fitness level by incorporating a few minutes of physical activity into each day or, alternatively, for 30 minutes – 1 hour a few times each week. The NHS recommends that adults should aim to carry out 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise – such as swimming, cycling or intensive housework - each week. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is any activity which makes the body work hard enough to raise your heart rate and cause you to begin sweating.
After a few weeks of maintaining a baseline activity level, try upping your game to include more robust activities, such as a sport that you enjoyed years ago but never quite got around to taking up again, or by joining a fitness class or a gym where you should be able to consult with a personal trainer.
Fitting in more physical activity doesn’t have to equate to an expensive gym membership, however. It could include walking the dog more often or for longer, hiring a bicycle at the weekend for a day cycling with friends, swimming once a week with the kids and even rigorous housework that gets your blood pumping. Vacuuming the house from top to bottom, giving all of your windows a good wash and buff, weeding and mowing the lawn, painting and decorating or digging out some new flowerbeds in the garden all count as physical activity. When you’ve completed your own household tasks, you may even wish to consider offering an elderly neighbour or relative a hand to complete some of their more strenuous chores – beneficial for both parties!
Remember, the key is increasing your heart rate and breaking a sweat – which works to improve cardiovascular health, core strength, stamina and improve your level of fitness. A good way to test if you are working hard enough: if you can speak the words to your favourite song while doing your activity but don’t have the breath to sing them, then you’re doing something right!
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