I am not a sporty person. You won't catch me suggesting a game of tennis or trying to join a netball team (shivers).
When they come for physio or join a class many people tell me they 'HATE' exercising. Fair play I say! It took me a while myself to figure out how to choose activities for myself that I actually enjoyed instead of forcing myself through an exercise I hated.
I'm sure you have heard the usual about the benefits of physical activity:
- lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease
- reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
- lowers the risk of colon and breast cancer
These benefits usually result from just 2-3 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. In fact, people who are physically active for about 7 hours a week are 40% less likely to die early than those who do less than 30 minutes per day.
But there are other reasons to get active. Aerobic exercise can help to reduce our perception of pain. So if you have an injury, finding a way to do some gentle exercise can help manage your pain.
Studies show that 3-5 sessions of 30-60 minutes of exercise per week can reduce the symptoms of depression. It can also help you to retain learning and judgement skills as you age.
Soooo, this is all very well and good but if you HATE exercise then how are you supposed to gain all these marvellous benefits? Well, I don't have a magic answer but I can give you some ideas to find 60 minutes a day.
- Park on the top floor of the carpark and take the stairs.
- Get a bike.
- Use it.
- When you make plans with friends arrange to go to the beach or for a walk together before your coffee date.
- Break up time in front of the computer with chores if you're at home or errands if you're at work.
- Join a class or group. Dancing isn't the only option, there are classes for just about anything these days. Why not try handstands classes, climbing lessons or walking groups?
- Get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk the kids to school instead of driving. It will help them set healthy habits for the future and you'd be surprised how much more willing they are to communicate when their feet are busy!
- Window shop (I'm a pro!)
- Swim in the ocean.
- Dance in the kitchen (when no-one's home, or even if they are!)
- At work, walk to the park to eat lunch.
- Listen to podcasts instead of watching TV. Once you are hooked you will always find excuses to go for a walk with your headphones on.
Please don't make 'getting fit' or 'start exercising' your new year's resolution if you hate it! I can't think of anything more likely to get dumped quick-smart than a resolution to do something you hate. Instead, start with something simple and enjoyable. Ask a family member or friend to join you, chances are they would love a bit of help to get healthier too.