The benefits of getting outdoors (or active) for 30 minutes a day.

Country side, UKYou may have started January with good intentions but now they have gone by the way. What’s more it is easy to find your energy levels dipping, at this time of year. The nights are longer than the days. It’s harder to motivate yourself to go out in the evenings. It’s harder to get up early in the mornings to go to the gym. You are busy at work. It seems a long time until summer. What if there was an easier solution to getting active rather than going to the gym or that Zumba class?

There is and that is to set the intention to do 30 minutes ‘activity’ per day. I myself have found massive benefit from this and I’ll explain why.

It gives you the flexibility to include chores such as ironing, cleaning the bathroom, hoovering, or washing the car, but also more focused exercises such as walking, stretching, running or going to the gym. The point is just to plan 30 minutes ‘activity’ in the day and see what happens. If you go to the gym three times a week but for the rest of the week, you don’t walk more than 100 yards, you could plan in a lunchtime walk or walk for 15 minutes to and from your place of work. If you couldn’t do that you could go for a 30 minute walk when you got home.

Only needing to do 30 minutes per day makes it far more likely that you will do it, whereas ‘going to the gym for an hour three times a week’ is more daunting. As success breeds success, starting small like this can help to make the shift from being inactive to active.

Research has found that going from no activity to moving around for as much as 20 minutes a day can have benefits to health. It gives you energy. It also has the benefit of making you feel better. It gets the blood moving around, which is good. Walking helps to clear the head and give you a different perspective. Cleaning can be very therapeutic. Ironing and hoovering may not be your favourite activities but if you see them as doing you good, then surely that makes it easier?

And what’s this got to do with good nutrition? Well, activity aids digestion of your food, which of course is part of getting good nutrition. Fresh air and sunlight also help your immune system (which is much-needed at this time of year). Sunny days have been few and far between this winter. If you can get out in the sun for 30 minutes at lunchtime this can be a great boost to your immune system, especially if it is a sunny day. Unfortunately in the UK we cannot make vitamin D from the sun until April (due to the angle of the sun’s rays) but the sun still does us good.

So don’t worry if your good exercise intentions for January have faded to nothing. Set this easier intention of 30 minutes in your day and test it to see if you feel any better. If you do, it will be easy to keep it going throughout the year and will give you the energy to make other changes, such as improved nutrition.

I hope you have found this helpful. Let me know how you get on.

 

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