Physiotherapist, Saadia Kirsten Jantjes, gives us practical moves to up your everyday exercise and move.
A few weeks ago, while scrolling through social media, I came across the following quote: “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.”
It dawned upon me that so many of us wait to be told by a doctor or medical professional, “You have diabetes/high cholesterol/high blood pressure, so you need to move and start exercising and taking better care of your health.”
After attending a diabetes workshop last month, I realised how much time and effort really goes into managing diabetes. Constantly checking blood glucose levels; being conscious of the amount of food consumed; how eating different food groups will affect your blood glucose at different times of the day; and adjusting doses accordingly. It definitely is time consuming.
Add that to all your day-to-day activities, means that you have very little ‘me-time’. Yet, your doctor and dietitian constantly tell you to add exercise to your routine. So, when and where are you meant to do this?
Make movement a part of your lifestyle
Our bodies are meant to move and not be sedentary. If we look back to our old friends, the cavemen, they were hunting, dancing around fires and exploring their surroundings. Ah what a life!
Unfortunately, in this day and age, we must schedule time for movement otherwise our day just runs away with us. But it shouldn’t have to be like that. Making movement an integral part of your daily living will result in more active calories been burnt throughout the day and, essentially, more time for yourself.
Start with baby steps…literally. Take the stairs.
Skip the lift and elevators and take the stairs whenever and wherever you can. Studies show that climbing just eight flights of stairs lowers early mortality risk by 33%; seven minutes of stair climbing a day can half the risk of heart attack over 10 years; and just two minutes of extra stair climbing a day is enough to stop middle age weight gain.
There are numerous other benefits like improving muscular tone, strength and balance as well as increasing your cardiovascular fitness. Riding the elevator up three flights burns 3kcal while walking up three flights of stairs burns over 20kcal.
Get in touch with Mother Nature…in your backyard
Gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding and it is particularly exerting. Using a leaf blower for 30 minutes burns 115kcal but raking leaves for 30 minutes burns 175kcal.
Add some simple exercises to your gardening regime to increase your calorie count. For example, performing a deep squat every time you bend down to water the flowers. Standing on your toes to pair the leaves. Doing some overhead presses with the watering can. Or, if you’re up for it, add a jog around the garden or some high knees on the spot. So, not only are you working out while gardening, but you’ll reap the benefits of some fresh air too!
Move at work
You probably spend most of your waking hours at work. So, what if you could workout while you work, without having to carve out a big chunk of your time?Try these quick moves in the workplace:
- If you sit at a desk, make it a habit to stand up every time you make or answer a phone call. March on the spot or pace in a circle to keep moving.
- Need an energising break? Stand up and do some basic strength and balance exercises. For example, squats, desk push-ups, wall sits, calf raises, tree pose and chair pose.
- Walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving or ordering in.
- Alternate sitting and standing throughout the day, with lots of walking and stretching breaks.
- Explore your options for using a standing desk, treadmill desk or sit-stand desk riser.
These are all practical tools to get you moving throughout the day. It can also be a great way to figure out what you may actually enjoy in terms of exercise. So, that when you’re able to set time aside for exercise, you’re able to do so with something that you enjoy.
MEET OUR EXPERT
Saadia Kirsten Jantjes is a physiotherapist with a passion for health and wellness. With a second degree in Sport Science, exercise is one of her favourite rehabilitation tools, to not only rehab injuries but prevent injuries too. Saadia has her own private practice in Morningside, Gauteng, SKJ Physiotherapy while working at a Sub-Acute Clinic and furthering her studies in Pilates.