There are three simple rules regarding activity on the Light Lifestyle program:
- Walk more and sit less - include gentle activity in your daily routine
- Exercise to raise your heart rate for 20 minutes a day or 10 minutes, twice a day
- Sleep 7-8 hours a night
There are so many benefits to exercise, yet it is so difficult to include it in our busy daily lives, so here are the techniques to make exercise work for you:
To include gentle activity in your daily routine:
- When sitting or standing ensure you maintain good posture. Pretend there is a thread drawing your head upwards in a straight line with your body.
- When waiting in queues practice clenching and releasing your stomach and bottom muscles.
- When standing up from a sitting position, sit down and stand up again 5 times.
- Wear a pedometer and try to target 10,000 steps a day.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Park further from the building when going shopping, to work, etc. to encourage yourself to walk more. You'll also save a lot of frustration fighting for the best bays.
- If your destination is nearby and the route is safe, instead of driving, walk.
- Replace the chair at your desk with an exercise ball. Even doing this for an hour or so a day can make a difference.
- If you have a desk job, get up every hour and a half to fetch a glass of water.
To raise your heart rate for 20 minutes a day:
- Setup a step or low bench in front of your TV and step up onto the bench with both feet and then step back down again, repeat for the duration of your favourite show.
- Do the Royal Canadian Airforce 5BX or XBX exercise program each morning or evening. This little book provides a great guide to simple exercises at home and how to scale your workout up or down.
- If you have trouble getting motivated try exercising to a DVD. These programs provide company and positive reinforcement as you exercise.
- Plan active outings for the weekends. Take the family for a walk on the beach or in the park instead of to movies. A 20 minute hike or cycle counts as your daily exercise.
- Join a club or take a class in an activity you enjoy like tennis, swimming or dancing. this will help keep you motivated and counts as your daily exercise.
- Walking briskly enough to raise your heart rate can also count as your exercise. You can walk up and down your lounge with music or the TV on.
Remember when starting any exercise program to start slowly and build-up a little each day. Never start out with an intense program. This will put you at high risk of injury that could derail your progress. If you are injured or ill do not exercise. Wait until you have recovered and then begin again slowly and build up a little each day. Always stop an exercise that causes you any pain.
How to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night:
Getting enough sleep is one of the hardest things to do in busy family life. But your body needs this time to rest, recuperate and make repairs each day.
- Have an evening routine. A list of all the tasks that must be completed each evening that you can tick off as they're done.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday.
- If you have to be early on weekdays and you want to sleep in on weekends then adjust your schedule by 1 hour for weekends i.e. if you wake at 6AM and go to bed at 10PM on weekdays then on the weekends you can go to bed at 11PM and wake up at 7AM.
- Start getting ready for bed an hour before your "bedtime". If you're ready early you can relax with a book or magazine before bed but at least you won't be rushing.
- If you have trouble actually falling asleep, lie quietly and think pleasant thoughts, daydream of holidays etc. Your body will still be getting a rest.