Don’t worry if you can’t reach 150 minutes per week just yet. Everyone has to start somewhere. Just building more activity into your day, one step at a time is a great way to begin. You can work up toward the recommended amount by increasing your time as you get stronger. Did you know that by standing for three additional hours each day over the course of a year, you can burn up to 30,000 extra calories and eight pounds of fat? That’s the equivalent of running about ten marathons! 20 minutes in any fixed position starts to inhibit your metabolism.1 The more you move the better. Getting started is easier than you think.
Changing a few daily habits can soon add up to a more active you!2
- Start in small amounts – spend less time sitting and gradually increase the amount you are doing. Go for a little longer or a little further
- The simplest way to get moving and improve your health is to start walking. It’s free, easy and can be done just about anywhere
- Build up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day
- Find an activity that you enjoy doing
- Ask family or a friend to join you
- Set yourself a reachable goal to do a little exercise each day
- If you are new to exercise or have a condition that you are taking prescribed medication for, you should check the amount and type of activity that is suitable for you with your doctor
- But don’t wait! Get started today by simply sitting less and moving more, whatever that looks like for you
Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down
Warming up and cooling down are the cornerstone for any good exercise or sports performance – you’ll do better, faster, stronger and have less risk of injury – your body will thank you for it!3
Warming up before any workout or sport is critical for preventing injury and prepping your body. A good warm-up before a workout dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles’ temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimise stress on your heart.
- Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. The more intense the activity, the longer the warm-up.
- Do whatever activity you plan on doing (running, walking, cycling, etc.) at a slower pace (jog, walk slowly).
- Include dynamic rather than static movement such as leg or arm swings – start slow and work toward increasing pain-free range of motion.
- Avoid static stretching – holding a stretched position in an effort to increase flexibility is better suited to post workout cool-down.
The cool-down is just as critical. During exercise, the heart is pumping blood at an accelerated rate. When exercise is stopped abruptly, this can cause the blood to pool in the lower extremities and slow its return back to the heart and, subsequently, the brain. All of this can lead to light-headedness, dizziness and fainting. Stretching the muscles when warm lengthens them and, over time, will allow you to have more range of motion, warding off injuries. After an intense bout of exercise there is also an accumulation of lactic acid within the system. It takes time for this by-product of exercise to be ‘buffered’ out, so 15 minutes of light exercise along with stretching is a great way to begin clearing the lactic acid from the body.
- Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
- Static Stretching:
- Hamstring Stretch : Press one heel forward, keep that leg stretch, hands at hips, push hips back and hold for 20-30seconds
- Quad Stretch: Stand tall, balance on one leg, bend the opposite knee, reach back to that heel and pull toward the seat. Avoid over-arching the low back. Keep abdominals in and strong. Hold for 20-30seconds
- Chest Stretch: Clasp hands behind back or hold at hips. Pull elbows in toward each other, drawing shoulder blades down and together. Press elbows further in or hands further back to increase the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Upper Back Stretch: Clasp hands together in the front of your body. Bring your chin to your chest and push hands forward, opening up the mid back. Take a few deep breaths and hold for 20-30seconds.
- Breathe while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.
- org. Stand Up and Be Empowered with a Healthier Lifestyle. Retrieved from: https://www.juststand.org.
- Australian Government Department of Health. Physical Activity. Retrieved from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phy-activity.
- American Heart Association. Stay Fit. Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics.