I often hear from people especially those starting out, that they don’t know where to start with an exercise and healthy eating regime. They often feel very overwhelmed with different choices and styles of exercise, which can leave them fence sitting for a while. In today’s modern society anyone can have access to an exercise program through the internet, magazines, newspapers or word of mouth.
I think this overwhelming choice of exercise types can have a negative impact on society as it can be used as an excuse not to do anything at all. When I discuss with my clients their current exercise routine, I usually discuss both structured and incidental physical activity. Incidental physical activity is made up of everything else outside a structured exercise session e.g. walking to work, walking to the bus stop, taking the stairs instead of the lift or going for a walk during your lunch break. All of these actions will increase the amount of daily activity and move you closer towards achieving 10 000 steps each day. This type of physical activity is a perfect way to start increasing your overall physical activity and it does not cost anything.
Once someone has thought of ways to increase their daily incidental physical activity, we can discuss how much structured physical activity you should be doing and aim to gradually build that. I typically recommend a 30-minute walk 2-3 times per week initially, with the goal of building that to 5-6 times per week. This can also be a jog, swimming or cycling. This might mean getting up 30 minutes earlier before work or taking a longer lunch break to fit this in.
It is recommended to complete 30 minutes or more of some physical activity each day, with that being a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise. Exercise doesn’t need to be hard or overcomplicated, and a lot of it can be done for free by just going for a brisk walk outside. The hardest part is just starting, once you start everything becomes much easier. Speak to your exercise physiologist if you have an injury or health condition that might limit you from walking or increasing your incidental activity.