You might train every day religiously, or step foot in the gym once a month. Either way, you don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill; being more active on a daily basis can benefit anyone and everyone, really making a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
Working together with global animal and welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in the world’s poorest countries, The Brooke, I’ve been tasked with sharing health and fitness tips for those fundraising for the charity. With the BUPA 10km run fast approaching, it’s little things like the points I have listed below that can really help keep your fitness levels up in between training, so your body stays in tip top condition!
Keep track of your steps
Whether you use a pedometer, a FitBit or an app on your phone, having a gadget that records your daily steps is a great way to keep you motivated and stay fit. Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking is an easy way of being more active and can help to build stamina, burn excess calories and contributes to heart health. Set a target of 10,000 steps a day (which burns around 400 calories) and try and incorporate walking at every opportunity you can, whether that’s walking to work or at lunchtime or getting off the bus a stop earlier.
Use the stairs, not the lift
Did you know that stair-walking provides the same health benefits in 15 minutes as walking or jogging slowly for twice that time on flat ground? In just 6 minutes, fast stair-climbing can have a significant impact on boosting fitness and lowering your cholesterol over 6 weeks. Let’s not forget it’s benefits for toning the legs and bum too! So next time you’re at work, in a shop or at a station, remember to use those steps wisely rather than the escalator.
Use housework as a workout
Ironing, hoovering, washing the car, cleaning the windows, gardening…Yes, these household tasks might not be the most exciting but they can be great for burning calories and working those muscles! Whack on some music and really put some oomph into your movements to benefit from the actions of the task. Honestly, you’ll be able to feel it afterwards and it’s a much cheaper way of exercising than going to the gym!
Skip shopping online (sometimes)
Going on Amazon, eBay or other online sites to order your shopping from the comfort of your own home, whether it’s for clothes, presents, entertainment or food, can be fun and convenient. However, sometimes it’s good to get out and explore the physical shops – not only do you get to see the products first-hand and explore offerings you might otherwise miss online, but it also means you’re burning calories. You’d be surprised how many steps walking around, packing and unpacking the car can rack up!
Burning calories after dark
I’m not necessarily talking ‘bedroom antics here (although undeniably, this burns calories too *ahem!!*) but sleeping actually burns an average of about 69 calories per hour, dependant on your weight. These calories are used to sustain vital functions in the body, monitoring and maintaining your temperature, repairing cells and pumping blood. Sleeping really is the key that affects weight. If you want to burn off more, use an alarm or set a sleep pattern: if you do not experience REM sleep, you are not sleeping deeply enough to burn optimum calories.
These are just a few key tips to encourage you to be more active on a day-to-day basis, to fit alongside your lifestyle and any extra training you are doing. Even better, if you are inspired to set a fitness goal then why not Sign up for the BUPA 10K and get running for a fantastic cause?
In the meantime, here’s a new recipe I have created to fuel your training. This easy gluten and dairy-free, no refined sugar loaf is deliciously moist and sweet and makes a great pre or post run snack. Packed with protein, healthy fats and some complex carbs in their too, this recipe is sure to be a winner in any household!
RECIPE: BANANA, COCONUT & BLUEBERRY LOAF
- 2 large overripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (I used Lucy Bee)
- 4 tablespoons almond milk
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup coconut flour (I used Sukrin)
- ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup stevia (Truvia)
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease a loaf tin.
- Whizz up the bananas, eggs, vanilla extract, melted coconut oil and almond milk in a blender until smooth.
- Mix together the buckwheat flour, coconut flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and stevia in a large bowl.
- Pour in the whizzed up banana mixture and fold in the blueberries until all combined.
- Spoon into the tin and smooth out evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through – you might want to cover with foil halfway through!
- Leave in the tin for about 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Slice up and serve! Keep the rest in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Inspired? Sign up for the BUPA 10K and get running for a fantastic cause!