How to build exercise into your daily life
Unless you’re one of those magical creatures who really enjoys the gym, you’ll know that getting enough exercise can be a bit of a drag. What with long working days at home or in the office, along with socialising and nabbing some well-deserved ‘you’ time, workouts can often get relegated to the bottom of the to-do list. [CFG_OVERVIEW_END] But it’s important to stay as active as you can manage, and we’ve got some welcome news: a little goes a long way. We caught up with personal trainer and fitstagrammer Em Furey to find out how making small changes to your routine can allow you to build exercise effortlessly into your day.
For people with very little time, what kind of exercises would you recommend?
I get asked this question so often! A lot of people like to exercise at home, so I tell them that working on the core is the most effective and you can always do it wherever you are. So this would be ab exercises, press-ups and body weight training – you don’t need any equipment to do it so it’s really easy to do. An intensive 20-minute session is fine – the more often you do it, the stronger you’ll get and more confident, so if you can go for longer, that’s great.
You can also use ladders and jump in and out of squats – you’re still working your abs and your core, but then it’s not just focused on your abs. Have a look around the house and see what you can use for makeshift weights – a pint of milk or a big bag of sugar, for example – you can use anything!
How can people build exercise into their working day?
I’d say things like run up the escalator when you can – don’t just stand. That way you’re using your glutes and your legs to really push yourself. We’re all on public transport quite a bit, and that’s an easy thing to change. It’s quite tiring too, so once you’ve done it you’ll already feel like you’ve made a positive change. You could also walk up the stairs three at a time – you might think you look a bit weird but I do it all the time – I just don’t care!
At work, you can do calf raises while you’re waiting for the printer to print – so that’s where you go up on the balls of your feet and hold that position, then lower again, then repeat. You could take trainers and run to the shop and run back in your lunch break. Most people just sit down and chill out, but if you’re sitting down all day, it makes a big difference to be active in your lunch break. I think people get more tired because they’re sitting down so much – but actually you get so much more energy when you start training more regularly. Buddying up with someone in the office is also a good move.
How can people stay motivated when it comes to their exercise routine?
Follow fitness accounts on Instagram and other social media platforms – so when you check your phone like we all do, you’ll see fitness people doing videos and photos. Everyone’s different and everyone’s body is different, but you know, you can do it slowly and you can build it up gradually.
What about other activities?
There are courses and companies that offer a range of different classes, which can be really fun. It could be pilates, boxing, aqua aerobics, circuit, spin, salsa – basically you get a huge range of options so you don’t get bored. You get something different every time, you meet new people, learn new things – and then you might get the encouragement to go to the gym and do something you learnt in one of those class. It really helps people to be motivated and independent in the gym.
There are lots of other fun things to do around and about, too. I went on a bike ride for the first time in ages the other week – and actually your legs work really hard, but if you go with friends, you don’t notice. You might get lost – it’s got a bit of a danger factor to it! – but it’s just so fun and being outdoors as well is really nice. There are certain things you can do where you don’t even realise you’re exercising – it’s just a nice normal thing to do.