Some of us may have had the dedication or time to exercise through the winter months but now the warmer weather and longer days are here, it is well worth considering how you can introduce moderate exercise into your daily and workplace health routines.
The misconception about exercise and burning calories is that you have to run a half marathon, swim the English Channel or cycle across the country to achieve your goal, this is simply not the case. In fact, moderate intensity exercise is best for burning fat!
What is moderate exercise?
Moderate intensity exercise includes physical activities such as:
• Brisk walking
• Cycling on the level
• Water aerobics
• Doubles tennis
• Pushing a lawn mower
For an activity to be described as moderate intensity it should make you feel warmer, your breathing should be harder and your heart should beat faster; but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.
How much is enough for good health?
NHS guidelines state that to stay healthy or to improve health, using moderate-intensity activities, you should perform at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) per week. One way to do this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.
If 30 minutes seems a bit much in one go then that’s not a problem. Start with less and then build up to 30 minutes, or complete three 10 minute bouts each day. If you haven’t exercised for some time you will need to build up your fitness gradually to achieve the 30 minutes a day target.
Alternatively, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week, or combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity. Vigorous intensity exercises are activities such as running, cycling fast or uphill, playing sports etc.
Make your daily routine more active
Even if you take regular exercise you should also try to build more physical activity into your daily routine. Sitting down all day is now known to contribute to diabetes, heart disease and cancer, even for fit people who regularly exercise!
According to the British Heart Foundation, if you can walk 10,000 steps a day this will burn enough calories to lose weight and maintain a decent level of fitness. Don’t worry – If you don’t have a pedometer to measure the number of steps – then think of 10,000 steps as being equivalent to walking 3.5 miles.
Improving workplace health
Paying more attention to the physical health and fundamental needs of staff and encouraging them to make lifestyle changes such as becoming more active at work and home can make a big difference to general health in the workplace. If your employees are looking after themselves well by making lifestyle decisions like maintaining a moderate exercise routine, they are more likely to meet targets and less likely to take time off due to stress and anxiety.