Most of us know the benefits of an active lifestyle but the challenge of getting fit can appear daunting. However, just 30 minutes of activity a day can make a big difference.
The Scottish Government’s Take Life On campaign aims to help people to improve their health in simple, achievable stages, so they can take life on, one step at a time.
There are lots of easy ways to get off the couch and get active, which can in turn help you encourage your kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of activity they need every day.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this all in one go, activity can be split into achievable ten minute bursts to make it easier to fit into everyday life.
Getting active doesn’t need to be costly - you don’t need a gym membership or a professional to coach you.
Here’s some very simple ideas to get you moving towards looking and feeling better:
Take a walk
Going for a walk with a friend is a great way to spend an evening and a lot cheaper than going to the pub.
Get out with the kids
As parents, you play a vital role in shaping what your kids think about being active.. Just making a few small changes can make a massive difference.
Chasing your kids around the garden or park, or having a kick about is good for you and fun for them. Swimming is also a fun way to get you and the kids fit.
The easiest way to be active every day is to make it part of your daily routine, a bit like brushing your teeth, but more fun.
Walk more often
Try walking some of the way to and from your destination. You only need to get off the bus a couple of stops early. Over time that will make a real difference to your health and fitness, one step at a time.
Get out at lunchtime
Why not go to the shops or park at lunchtime instead of staying at work? The walk will also make you feel more awake in the afternoon.
Leave the car
When you pop out to the local shop, why not walk instead of taking the car?
Draw the curtains, turn up the music and dance around the living room to your favourite songs.
Take the stairs
Try taking the stairs instead of the lift or the escalator.
Gardens and parks
Even planting flowers and growing vegetables can be good for you. Yes, even gardening counts as exercise. For those of us without one, or if green fingers aren’t your thing, a walk through a park can be invigorating as well as being a much needed break from your daily routine.
David White, Scottish Government physical activity champion explains, “Only 39 per cent of adults in Scotland are currently meeting the recommended physical activity levels, but getting active shouldn’t be viewed as a chore.
“It can be great fun and an opportunity to try something different or to meet new people.
“Finding something you enjoy doing will mean you’re more likely to stick to it. This doesn’t need to be costly – taking a walk or a trip to your local swimming pool with family or friends are both great ways to get going.
“You’ll feel better today, and reap the benefits for years to come.”
Not only that, there is strong scientific evidence that physical activity and a healthier diet can protect against many of Scotland’s leading chronic diseases.
Heart disease is currently Scotland’s biggest cause of death but a diet high in fruit, vegetables and fibre, and low in salt and fat can be a massive step towards reducing your risk of developing it.
Being physically active not only keeps your heart healthy, but makes you look and feel great.
While diabetes is second only to smoking as the UK’s biggest cause of heart disease and 80% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Half of all cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes too. Aim for a diet that’s high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in fat, red meat and processed meat.
Once again, keeping active for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week can also play a part.
So don’t delay and start to make some simple changes to your lifestyle that will keep you and your family fit, happy and healthy.
For advice and information on taking the first steps to an active lifestyle, visit www.takelifeon.co.uk