With social media and entertainment lighting up the screens of this generation, fitness levels in children, youth and adults continue to decline significantly.
Did you know that 85 per cent of Canadian adults are considered inactive? With inactivity becoming the norm, it’s not surprising that Nova Scotia has some of the highest rates of obesity in Canada. Statistics like these should motivate you to take the steps towards a more active life.
Starting a new workout routine or even finding spare time can be challenging but getting active doesn’t have to be difficult. Small, simple changes to your daily life can instantly increase your level of activity.
- What goes up must… take the stairs. You’ve heard it before, but taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator really helps. Running out of breath or aching legs are not excuses for avoiding the stairs! Once taking the stairs becomes a routine, it will become easier and you‘ll no longer consider it a chore.
- Ditch the car. Park your car several blocks away from your destination. If you use public transportation, get off before your stop and walk the rest of the way. You can even fit in a short walk before heading into the mall or grocery store. Not only will you be adding steps in your day, but you’ll no longer have to search for the coveted parking spot near the doors.
- Commercial time is prime-time. A fun way to stay active is to get up off the couch during commercials. In three minutes you can fit in a variety of activities: jumping jacks, sit-ups, marching in place or even going up and down your new best friend…the stairs. You can get the whole family involved and make a game out of it. Laughing at one another only enhances the experience!
- Dance like nobody’s watching. Break a sweat and put on your favourite song and bust a move. You can make it even more fun by involving the kids and turning it into a dance-off competition. Dancing is not only physical, but it is a great stress-reliever. What are you waiting for? Press ‘PLAY’!
- Cleaning with a meaning. Doing chores around the house and working on the lawn are both great workouts. Wiping windows and mirrors, vacuuming, washing the car or gardening are all examples of physically engaging chores. Playing music can help make tasks more enjoyable and gives you another opportunity to add some dancing in to your day.
- Show the kids how it’s done. A decade ago, kids would always play outside but as technology advances it’s becoming more challenging to get them excited about the outdoors. Take a trip down memory lane and bring out the chalk. Enforce outdoor time with games of hopscotch, hula hooping, biking, tag, hide-and-seek or Capture the Flag.
- Take a hike. Explore different parts of the province and discover the beauty of nature. Hiking trails provide the pathway to a physical and memorable adventure. Check out www.hikenovascotia.ca or www.novatrails.com for trail directories.
- Pace the sidelines. Instead of taking a seat during your child’s sport practices or games, walk along the side of the field or rink. By paying attention to your child and surroundings, you won’t even realize that you’ve spent at least 30 minutes walking.
- Exercise with a friend. Socializing and being active is a perfect pair. Fitness centres offer many group classes which could turn into social plans between friends. Exercising with someone that has the same active-living goals can help keep you motivated.
- Long walks on the street. You can try to pretend that they are “long walks on the beach” but hitting the pavement with your partner or friend can be just as enjoyable. Try fitting in a walk during your lunch break or even take the family out after supper. Although casual walks are relaxing, they can truly benefit your health in the long run.
All of these suggestions can be incorporated into your life starting today. With many options that are free of cost and many that are actually amusing, becoming active should be a great experience. Now get out there and get active! You owe it to yourself.
What are some of your tips for incorporating activity into your day? How do you keep fit and have fun?
Submit your ideas in the comment section below.