Move More Month is almost over, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop talking about ways to become more physically active. Today we’re talking about ways to overcome common barriers to physical activity. Given the many health benefits of an active lifestyle, why are so many adults not meeting recommended levels? Three of the most common reasons adults cite for not adopting more physically active lifestyles are: lack of time, lack of motivation, and fear of injury. Find below ways of overcoming each of these barriers.
Lack of time
- One way to overcome this barrier is to identify available time slots where you could fit in physical activity. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use to be active.
- Another way to overcome lack of time would be to add physical activity into your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize work activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park further away from your destination, etc.
- Finally, selecting activities that require minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing (think about the Tupper Building) can overcome this barrier.
Lack of Motivation
- One way to overcome this barrier is to plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
- Another way would be to invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars. Doing it with a friend will give you extra motivation
Fear of Injury
- One way to overcome this barrier is to learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury. There are many stretches for before and after workouts that help limit injury.
- Another way would be to learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status. For example, think about starting with low impact exercises, like bike riding, if you’re of poorer health status.
- Finally, choose activities involving minimum risk, like walking or stair climbing, to get you into a physically active lifestyle.
(Adapted from the CDC)
Since it’s Move More Month here at Dalhousie, here are seven tips for packing more physical activity into your workday.
Active on the Way to Work
- If you can bike, run, or walk to work, this can be an excellent way to fit more activity into your day. You’ll arrive feeling fresh and energised, with a clear mind. Of course, not everyone lives close enough for this to be a realistic option, but you can still find ways to make at least part of your trip more active. If you drive, park further away from your place of work and walk the rest. If you take the bus or train, get off a stop or two early and walk/ride the rest of the way.
Go and See Your Colleagues
- Use every opportunity you have to get up from your desk. Instead of emailing your colleague across the room, walk over their desk and have a chat with them face-to-face. Or if your arranging a meeting with someone, how about going to speak to them face-to-face to arrange it. The steps add up, and it gives you the extra benefit to having some social interactions.
Take the Stairs not the Elevator
- Heard many times before, but it’s a simple and effective way to get some more activity into your workday. The trick is making it a habit, so you stop thinking about it as a choice you have to make every time. Start by aiming to take the stairs once a day, then work up until it’s automatic.
- If it’s possible in your office, standing up to work can be great choice even if you only stand at it for half the day. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting – and it can be great for your back and posture.
Change the Layout of your Office
- Rather than clumping everything in your office into a single area within an arm’s reach, spread it out. Do you have a filing cabinet right behind you or next to your desk? Think about moving it farther away so that you’ll be forced to stand up and walk to it. This will encourage movement throughout the day that will add up, give you time to stretch, and rest your eyes from the screen.
Get Moving at Lunch Time
- First, it’s important to take your lunch break. Having a break during the day is beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing, and it’s also a good opportunity to get active. Instead of eating at your desk or sitting down in the kitchen area for your whole lunch break, make a point to get up and move for at least part of your allotted time. Go for a jog during your lunch, or if you don’t have showers at your place of work, how about just going for a walk around the block. You will be surprised how much better you fell after a brisk walk. The key is not to think about work while you are on lunch.
Have Standing or Walking Meetings
- Do meetings need to be based around a table all the time? If it is just a brief meeting, why not discuss the subject as you walk around the block. For smaller groups or one-on-ones, a walking meeting can be a great way to get things done while getting a little physical activity. The change of pace and scenery can also help reduce tensions and encourage more creativity and free-flowing conversations. Or you could stand during the meeting – even easier if it is one where you don’t need to make notes, although you could still write standing if you have a clipboard.
Looking for a fitness challenge that’ll push you to the limits? FANFIT may be the thing you’re looking for.
FANFIT is a total-body fitness challenge and inclusive in nature. Each of the 5 core stations is designed for each participant to challenge oneself to the best of one’s ability and offers participants to compete against oneself, peers, and Olympic athletes. The 5 exercise stations are: vertical jump, pro agility combine, 1000 meter row, plank challenge, and 20 meter beep test.
The Canadian Olympic Foundation is the official charitable beneficiary of the FANFIT Challenge. The COF raises and grants funds to the Canadian Olympic team and the next generation of National Team athletes.
In 2016 it will take place on March 26th in Halifax, and April 30th in Toronto.
Here is the official trailer of the FANFIT Challenge
Check out the website as well for more info and to register: www.fanfit.ca