Be Smart with YOUR Time this Winter – with Helen Murray
With short days, bad weather, and post Christmas blues; winter can start to feel like it’s dragging on forever, and equally it can be really hard, in winter to motivate yourself and get some training done. But that it doesn’t have to take hours each day! Cheshire based coach Helen Murray has given us her top tips, to help you move more and improve your health and fitness, in just a few minutes each day.
Over to you Helen…
“I just don’t have the time!” It’s a phrase that I often hear and, like most other people. I too wish there were 25 hours in a day, and that three day weekends were standard.
Of course, we can all choose how to spend the 24 hours we are given each day, but everyone’s time is precious.
Once you’ve ticked off work, cooking, sorting the kids out, and ticking your way through your daily ‘to do’ list, taking time to do some exercise might not be your top priority.
Therefore, it’s about being clever with your time! Start by making small changes and focussing on what you CAN do, so you can keep as active as possible throughout the day.
Why not try the following during your working week?
Ban the lift. This is so easy to do, yet most of us turn to man-made machines as a default. Purely by taking the stairs you can hit around 5,000-7,000 steps at work, even if your job involves a LOT of sitting on your bottom!
Drink plenty of water. Not only does water keep you hydrated, but it also means you’ll make frequent trips to the toilet which can give you that all important screen break for a couple of minutes. If you work in a big office, why not pop to the toilets on another floor, just to get you up and about that little bit more?
Try a walking meeting. When the weather is fine outside, walking meetings, with a few colleagues, can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing whilst keeping active. Just make sure you have a topic to discuss and plan your meeting, so your colleagues know they might need to bring their coat and some comfortable shoes!
Swap transport for trainers. Why not swap transport for trainers a few times a week and combine commuting with keeping active? You could park further away than normal or walk instead of taking the bus or the train. Aim for around 30 minutes of brisk walking. Not only will it get you moving, but it’ll clear your head and could even save you on travel costs.
Plan ahead. The first time I forgot my bra after running to work taught me a good lesson. I now always have spare underwear in my locker! Take time to pack your kit before you go to bed. If you’re planning to hit the gym early, put your kit out by your bed. If you’ve told yourself you’ll go swimming straight after work, then take your swim bag in to the office with you. It will remind you of your promise, especially when all you can think of is getting home to that cold glass of vino after a stressful day!
Use your lunch break. Rather than sitting at your desk, or in the canteen with colleagues, at lunch time, why not see it as exercise time? Make a regular appointment in your calendar, find some colleagues and go and have fun!
Make small food swaps. Whilst I genuinely do believe in everything in moderation, it’s sometimes easy to think you’re working in a bakery rather than an office, with all of the cakes and biscuits on offer! Just make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables when you’re at work. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can really help to avoid those sugar rushes and post-lunch slumps.
Weighting Around. If you’re cooking dinner for the kids, why not grab some tins out of the cupboard and do some weighted squats while things are in the oven? Or try some bicep curls whilst watching TV. You can even throw in some burpees, lunges and jumping jacks to really get your heart rate going.
Inevitably life often takes over and you might not be able to make it to the gym or to meet your friend for a game of tennis, but be kind to yourself, focus on the positives and know that small steps will make a big difference.
Helen Murray is an Exercise and Movement Specialist, based in Cheshire. She co-hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast which is proudly sponsored by Sports Tours International.