Why sport?Sport is important for other reasons, however. First of all, done right, it is a lot of fun to find something that really pushes you to go there over and over. Being more physically active makes you fitter in general. No more getting out of breath going up two or three flights of stairs or playing with your children. Sport shapes your contours in the areas that are worked on, giving you a more athletic build. I would suspect that most of us have heard about the health benefits of exercise – to name just a few: reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, controlling weight or even reducing stress levels. Unless your primary physical activity is going to work, even mild exercise can be exhausting and therefore demotivating right from the beginning. A general lack of physical activity is a quasi-guarantee that you won’t do any activities like exercising. Sitting on the couch after a hard day’s work is just much more attractive. The recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate exercise (getting your heart to pump faster) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (doing actual sport) is already enough to substantially improve overall body health. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but phrased differently – being physically active for half an hour up to five times a week – already feels more challenging. But there is a trick to get moving more easily without having to do excessive amounts of sport.
Incidentally getting where we want to beAs in my last post on eating habits, we don’t want to go into too much sport too quickly. If you try to go from zero to a hundred, you might end up frustrated and quit. Instead, the best approach is to accustom our bodies – and most of all, our minds – by slowly adapting to more physical activity. The first step towards a more active life is called ‘incidental exercise’. This describes the activities that you can do while doing other things or a replacement for a current routine. These activities don’t sound like a lot, but can sum up to a substantial amount, and make a difference. Examples for incidental exercise’ include:
- Incorporating walking into your daily routine.
- A good way of doing this is to have a glass of water on your desk. When it is empty, walk to the kitchen and refill it. Make it a small glass so that you have to walk there more often. 🙂
- Walking around while brushing your teeth.
- Taking the stairs. We often avoid stairs due to laziness or the illusion of saving time taking the elevator, but this is an easy way to add extra incidental physical activity to your daily routine.
- Parking a bit further away than usual or, if you rely on public transport, getting off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Traveling to work by bike instead of public transport or car.
- Walking around while you are on the phone.
- Going for a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting in front of your desk or in a restaurant.