If you don’t enjoy exercise, don’t fret! More studies are showing the benefits of low-intensity exercises, such as casual walking or light gardening. The movement doesn’t need to be extreme it just needs to be often. So, what are some tips for moving more if you don’t particularly like exercise?
Our body craves regular walking. Half an hour a day, five days a week is good, but ideally aim to walk every day, with occasional longer walks of around one hour.
Find ways to make it enjoyable and part of your routine. It’s easier to commit to walking if you have a partner or friend to walk with. You could join a walking group – some cover very long distances, so do some research to ensure you find the right walking group for you.
If you can, why not ditch your car for the day? This can quickly become a healthy habit and solve many of your traffic and parking frustrations at the same time!
Use the stairs instead of the escalators whenever possible. If there are only escalators and no stairs, then walk up the escalator instead!
Meanwhile, bodyweight exercises such as as yoga or pilates are also great for your health, and the best part is these exercises can be done anywhere. If you’re trying yoga or pilates for the first time, ensure you join a beginner’s class.
We’re more likely to stick with an exercise if we enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy tennis, golf, swimming, lawn bowls, badminton, cycling, or dancing – they all get you moving and you’ll be more likely to maintain them if you’re having fun while exercising.
Good news for people who like to boogie! A recent study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found dancing was the best physical exercise to reverse the signs of ageing in the brain.
Tiny habits are explained in this Ted Talk by behaviour scientist BJ Fogg. Fogg started a tiny fitness habit by doing two push ups each time he visited the bathroom. This may sound meaningless, but it adds up: if you go to the bathroom six times a day, it adds up to 12 push ups every day, or 84 push ups a week.
Not everybody likes push ups, so you could try other exercises, such as some squats, or sit-ups, or whatever you like. The key to tiny habits is recognising something you do every day and finding some small way to build a positive tiny routine around it.
Sitting down for too long isn’t great for your health, so try to stand up and go for a short walk every hour.
In fact, in a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, inactivity was compared to having a major disease.
The researchers subjected 122,007 patients to treadmill testing from 1991 to 2014. They found that being unfit on a treadmill has a worse prognosis concerning death than being hypertensive, diabetic, or a current smoker. The big message from this study was we need to move to stay healthy. More encouragingly, it showed that by improving our fitness we can improve our longevity.