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Physical activity has to be fun – by Jackie Gowland

Bike Exercise for fun

I used to love playing hockey, and would play up to 3 times a week, train, and go to the gym. However having children helped to finish off my knees, and I lost a lot of my confidence on pitch. Since then I have struggled to stay motivated to do exercise and find that regularly work or childcare reduces the opportunities to attend formal classes. Therefore I have to build physical activity into my day through everyday life. It helps me to use a fitness tracker so that I have a personal challenge to meet each day, and will often climb the stairs several times to ensure I meet my steps for the hour, or day. The easiest way for me to exercise is to get the kids outside and to take them for a walk, a bike ride or to the park to play. They are happy and we are all physically active, and my step count goes up.

Physical Activity Guidelines

We all know that we should be doing more physical activity, the recommended guidelines for Adults (between 19 and 64) is 150 minutes a week – 2.5 hours seems a huge amount when you first look at it, however 30 minutes 5 days a week seems more achievable. These 30 minutes should be moderate aerobic activity – i.e. working at a level where you are feeling warm, beginning to sweat a little but still able to hold a conversation. The alternative is 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week – such as playing a game of tennis

However, did you know in addition you should do activities which strengthen your muscles at least twice a week? This can include a session lifting weights in the gym or digging in the garden.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be formal exercise.

For many people, the thought of going to the gym or joining in team sports doesn’t appeal or doesn’t fit in to a busy life, so it is important to try and build physical activity into your everyday life. By breaking it down in to 3 lots of 10 minutes each day this becomes more achievable. For example

  • Walk the kids to school rather than driving.
  • Don’t use the nearest bus stop, instead walk further to the next stop
  • Climb the stairs at work, rather than use the lift
  • Mow the lawn
  • Hoover the house
  • Clean your windows

Physical Activity that is fun is easier

If you enjoy what you are doing you won’t see physical activity as a chore, but instead as an opportunity to enjoy yourself and to maybe escape for the mundanity of modern life. Try to find someone to join in with you

  • Find a walking buddy – you are 5 times more likely to do it if you have a friend you have made a commitment to exercise with.
  • Borrow a dog and take it for a walk in a park or fields
  • Hold a meeting walking round the local park
  • Turn up the tunes, playing music can help increase the intensity as you get active.
  • Join in with the kids in some old fashioned school games such as skipping, catch the flag or hopscotch
  • Join in a one of the new exercise groups who aim to change how people think about fitness by making it fun– such as Rabble (inspire by playground games) or Project Awesome (behaving like overgrown children to get fit).
  • If you fancy something a bit more formal via the internet you will find a wide range of options such as hula fit, circus skills classes, trampolining, float fit.

Is pain limiting your physical activity?

Osteopaths regularly hear from their patients that they have had to stop their normal sport or physical activity due to pain or an injury. If you would like to  ensure that pain doesn’t rule your life, then give us a call or book an appointment to see one of us