How to find time to exercise for an hour a day

"Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness"

A recent report in the Lancet says an hour of exercise a day can counteract the many hours we spend sitting at our desks, in front of a computer or watching TV.

Long periods of sitting increase your risk of premature death more than obesity (another good reason to get moving) and smoking. Inactivity increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

50% of women and 30% of men fail to achieve even the recommended 30 minutes a day. 

But we're all so busy, how can we find time to fit in an hour of exercise?

It doesn't have to mean going to the gym or joining an exercise class, although that can help. Just get more active throughout the day and it all adds up.
  • Get up from your desk every half an hour. Use the Pomodoro concept of 25 minutes of work and a 5 minute break. You'll be more focused, more productive and spend less time sitting.
  • Take a walk at lunchtime. Avoid the temptation to eat at your desk. Find some green space if you can, walk to the shops or just around the block.
  • Get up and go and talk to your colleagues face-to-face rather than pinging them yet another email or using the phone.
  • If it's a short meeting - stand don't sit. Not only will this keep it to time but you'll avoid adding to your sitting time.
  • Walk or cycle to the station instead of taking the car. Even better if you can walk or cycle to work or ...
  • Get on or off the bus, train or tram a stop earlier and walk the extra distance. Whether it's work, a trip to the shops or just around town.
  • Walk to the shops. How many of you jump in the car to pop to your local shop? Many of my neighbours do it - it's less than a 10 minute walk to the nearest 'corner' shop and only 15 minutes to a larger supermarket (OK, even I drive when I have more than a few items to buy).
  • Use the stairs at work rather than the lift. While you might not want to walk up every floor, if your office is on the 20th floor, taking a few stairs to go up or down a couple of floors will get you fitter.
  • Walk up escalators. They're not just for standing on, unless it's really busy and no one is walking up them.
  • Download and play PokemonGo - this game is being credited with getting people out and about outdoors and walking. [Warning - download this at your peril, it's likely to be addictive and you'll actually 'waste' more time playing it!]
  • Get a pedometer or use an app like MapMyFitness (Walk, Run or Cycle apps) or activity tracker - Fitbit or Garmin to monitor your activity. Even if you only use it to see how much you do, you can also benefit from working with your friends and seeing how you score. The competitive element can be enough to motivate you to move more.
  • 15 minutes of stretching or yoga is a good way to ease out those muscles and joints which have been in one position for hours at a time.
It all adds up. 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day and 30 minutes at lunch time is more achievable than finding an hour to go to the gym. Several '5-10 minutes of activity' throughout the day can make up the recommended one hour.

Make the most of the longer hours of daylight and the warmer weather to get out and about. Get away from your desk, increase your activity and feel the benefit.

Hour's activity offsets 'sedentary day'. (BBC News)

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