Today’s post comes from Farah Islam. Farah is a recent MSc graduate in Public Health from the Université de Montréal. She is also the current Bilingual Communications Coordinator of the OC-SNP National Executive.
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults, it is recommended that adults aged between 18-64 accumulate at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week (1). However, with the most of us struggling to meet the daily time-consuming demands of juggling work, school, chores, and a personal life — it is merely no surprise that the vast majority of the population do not successfully achieve the recommended dose of weekly exercise (2).
Though there is often little free time to spare in our daily routines, sneaking in some physical activity might actually be easier than most of us often think! Recent evidence suggests that even incorporating small active bouts as little as 10 minutes can have great improvements for daily health and our well-being (1,2). So, how and where can you get started? To begin, here are five easy tips to get active without having to comprise time in your busy schedule:
- Take regular computer breaks
For a large majority of us, a considerable portion of the day is spent sitting in front of our computer screens. Transform your everyday sedentary lifestyle by taking just a few minutes every hour to get off the chair and use the washroom, grab some water, or to visit a colleague next door (as opposed to a phone call or sending an e-mail). This will not only allow you to take a much-needed break from your screen but will also allow you to stretch your legs, be more productive, and increase your daily step count!
- Take the stairs
Yup, it’s that easy! Whenever and wherever the situation permits to do so, opt for the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Not only will you get to skip the elevator line and avoid time wasted waiting for others to get off at every floor, but you’ll get your heart pumping too!
- Use public transport
Yes, I know… ugh. But, what if I told you that using public transport could be a (nearly) magical solution for achieving a healthier and more active lifestyle? Recent studies suggest that daily recommendations for physical activity are often achieved for many public transport users (in comparison to their driver counterparts) (3). Of course, there is also the added bonus of skipping early morning traffic jams and parking hassles!
- Park further away
If using the bus or train is simply not an option for your daily transport needs, there is no need to worry! Let’s be honest – for some of us, searching for the closest parking to the door costs us way too much time. Next time, challenge yourself to park further a little away from your destination. Remember, every extra step counts!
- Swap the TV for an evening walk
After a draining day at work, there is nothing like unwinding in front of the TV and watching countless episodes of the latest Netflix series. After dinner, why not go for a walk instead? Make sure to bring the whole family along – the spouse, the kids, pets, and maybe even invite the neighbors for an evening walk. Not only is this a great opportunity to have some well-spent quality time together but it will actually help boost your energy as well!
- Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years). 2018 [cited 20 September 2018]. Available from: https://csepguidelines.ca/adults-18-64/
- Statistics Canada. Directly measured physical activity of Canadian adults, 2007 to 2011. Government of Canada. 2015 [cited 20 September 2018]. Available from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2013001/article/11807-eng.htm
- Wasfi RA, Ross NA, El-Geneidy AM. Achieving recommended daily physical activity levels through commuting by public transportation: Unpacking individual and contextual influences. Health & place. 2013 Sep 1;23:18-25.