Being active – that thing that everyone knows is important but very few people actually do.
For the longest time I thought being active meant being able to walk on my hands or do crazy yoga moves. That can’t be further from the truth! In this article, I will start with the basics – tell you what being active actually means. Then I go on to tell you about some simple ways in which I incorporate activity into my daily life.
So let’s start with the basics:
What does being active actually mean??
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends that adults 18-64yrs old engage in 150 minutes of moderate and high intensity activity per week – that’s less than 30min per day! It also turns out it doesn’t even have to be all at once – 10min bursts throughout the day are totally ok.
Moderate intensity is stuff like going for a brisk walk or a bike ride.
High intensity is anything that will make you sweat and be “out of breath”
Failing to do this results in an increased risk of many diseases many of which don’t have a happy ending. Yikes!
CSEP also recommends weight training (anything that will help build and maintain muscle) at least 2x per week.
Ok cool! So how do we do this? Everyone’s lives are different, but here’s how I get my 30min in without even thinking about it!
A walk during lunch breaks
Lunch time is a great time to get moving. I’ll pick up those groceries I’m missing, pay a bill or simply walk around the neighbourhood for a bit to get some fresh air. I also love scheduling walks with other people too – that way I get more people moving and I get to catch up with friends.
Even 10min can make a difference: that’s 50min per week! Already ⅓ into those 150min we were talking about earlier. Here’s a cool alley I found during one of my lunch breaks at work:
Taking the stairs
My day job involves working in an office on the 5th floor of a building downtown. I’ve been at that location for about a year now and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen the inside of the elevator. I am possibly the only person taking the stairs. Sure, it’s a bit slower and people look at me funny when I pass the elevators and keep going towards the stairs but by the time I’m on the 5th floor I’ve moved already a bit that day.
What floor do you live on? What floor do you work on? See if you can take the stairs!
Skipping the bus
The area where I live is serviced by a community shuttle bus which I absolutely hate. It used to come every 30min, often be late and very likely to be full by the time it reached our stop. What a complete waste of time. So I decided to just walk to the skytrain station instead. It was ultimately faster than waiting for the shuttle bus, saved me a ton of frustration (last thing I need first thing in the morning), and got me moving. The skytrain station is a 15min walk each way. There and back, that’s a 30min walk right there, no real effort needed.
Playing with kids
If you are a parent you’re in luck because they drag you out of the house and off the couch whether you want to or not. Why not embrace it? Research also shows we are happier when we play with our kids. It allows us to focus on the present moment, laugh and be silly. If you ask me, I think kids are onto something! Plus, who wants to be an adult anyway? 😉 Here’s a picture of me having more fun at the playground than my kid:
Hiking! And making a day out of it!
Here in Vancouver we are blessed with so many parks and so many hiking trails. You don’t even need to go very far – the mountain is in our back yard. I love to grab a snack, pack some water and hit the trails. A day spent outdoors is a day in heaven in my books, especially when you encounter views such as this one:
Getting someone to plan it for you
This one is cheating I admit, but one excellent way to be active without needing to think about it too much is to get someone else to plan your workouts for you! This is where a personal trainer can be a tremendous help. All you have to do is show up to your sessions, tell us what you want to work on, and we take care of the rest.
Being active doesn’t have to be this daunting scary thing social media wants us to believe and I hope this article has helped convince you of this. Just 30 minutes of activity per day can help ward off a huge list of health issues and ensure you maintain your quality of life into old age.
Think about your daily life and how you can incorporate it into your usual routine! And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Personal trainers are there for you!
Now go out there and make those 30min happen!
~As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts on this topic in the comments section below. What other ways have you found to make being active simple and fun? ~