Is your lifestyle holding your exercise back?

How to boost your exercise levels

Busy modern lifestyles have resulted in a rise of fast food consumption and car usage and a lack of exercise and physical activity. However, there are ways to beat today’s lack of health and fitness exercise. Here’s our guide to improving your fitness through exercise fitted around your daily life.

Modern day living has changed dramatically over the past few years with labor-saving devices and convenience at every turn. However, there is a downside to these benefits because as a result, our levels of activity and exercise have decreased. This has resulted in lower levels of fitness and weight management issues. In other words, there has never been a more important time to get actively involved in health and fitness.

We may all be busy, but with developments in technology our bodies aren’t doing as much work. Does the following sound familiar?

The car is king over exercise

Despite high running costs and congestion; car use and ownership has never been more popular. Shopping centres are increasingly sited ‘out of town’ to cater for close parking and we routinely travel distances in cars that are perfectly walkable. The result is that we are less fit in both our cardiovascular systems (heart and lungs) and general leg strength. Additionally, our calorie burn is reduced, making weight management more difficult.

rear view of man driving in a car

Increased computer usage over exercise

It would be easy to think that the computer had taken over our lives because computer usage in almost every environment is the norm. Every shop and office utilises the power of the PC and the vast majority of homes now have at least one computer. High levels of computer use are synonymous with low levels of exercise activity because working on a PC is very sedentary. Clearly, the PC is here to stay, so the issue to address is how to combat the effects of long hours at the keyboard with appropriate health and fitness guidelines.

Leisure activities

Similarly to computer usage, leisure activities have altered over the past couple of decades. Television now broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and computer games have impacted on both children’s and adult’s activity levels.

Supermarket growth and bad nutrition

Walking to the bakery for a loaf of bread is almost a thing of the past these days. The growth in supermarkets as a one-stop-shop has been immense, as has the trend towards supermarket prepared convenience foods. Typical hectic lifestyles have resulted in home cooking taking a broadside and microwave meals increasing in popularity. Convenience foods are often high calorie, low nutrition versions of regular meals, further adding to health and fitness problems.

Fast food thwarting exercise

In line with the rapid pace of the 21st century, fast food outlets have boomed. Unfortunately, the nutritional content of a great many of these fast food products is extremely low, yet also extremely calorific. A typical ‘burger, fries and soft drink’ meal can easily contain more than half of a person’s calorie requirements for one day — in a single meal.

So what can we do to improve our exercise?

Start making small changes to your routine and build up slowly. Small changes to your lifestyle are more likely to be maintained in the long-term, rather than pledging yourself to a huge fitness regime that you don’t stick to after the first few weeks.

Exercise is much like dieting in that way. The fad or fashionable diets may work for a few weeks but the extreme ones are unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. However, if you make small changes to your habits, the good intentions are more likely to be adhered to.

So to ease you in gently, here are our top tips to bring some good new habits into your hectic lifestyle:

We all hate mornings, but try to set your alarm 20 minutes earlier and get in some exercise before work. Why not go for a walk to buy a newspaper? Or just take a brisk walk once around the block.

Have you ever thought of cycling to work? Ditching the car and the frustrating commute will do wonders for your stress and fitness levels — as well as giving you time to prepare mentally for the day ahead.

Make the most of your lunch hours — you can easily squeeze in a 30 minute walk. You don’t even need to get changed, just throw on a pair of training shoes and get walking.

Think about getting involved in a hobby that will get you moving — and we are not just talking about the normal pastimes. How about belly or salsa dancing? Or why not get a few friends together to go paintballing? You will get all of the benefits of an exercise workout without even noticing.

Physical activity need not be boring, when you get home throw on your favourite CD and let loose, really jump around and dance to your heart’s content. As the average song is around 3 to 4 minutes — you will easily start clocking up enough activity to make a difference, and you probably won’t want to stop.

Remember, getting started in health and fitness need not be difficult or daunting. Just a few simple changes to your daily routine like ditching the car, reducing the fast food and increasing your levels of activity will enhance your health and fitness — as well as making you feel a whole lot better. Go on — don’t let your lifestyle hold you back!

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