Less than half of Dutch adults exercise enough. Given how hard it can feel to exercise in the fall and winter months, it is especially important to find ways of swapping too much time spent on the sofa for time spent on the move. Luckily, for the exercise-shy, this doesn’t mean hours pumping iron in the gym. For example, 30 minutes of dancing burns as many calories as jogging for the same length of time. Better yet, you will probably find yourself enjoying it.

Choose to walk and cycle where possible

There are lots of ways of exercising without thinking about it too much. It is particularly simple to exercise our leg muscles, not least because of the fact we use them for walking – and even standing still.

Make the most of your stairs at home by walking up and down them several times in quick succession and at various times of the day. When you are out and about, take longer routes by foot if time permits and, when travelling by bus, alight a stop early to give yourself an extended walk.

Cycling, meanwhile, is a great form of exercise, as is well known in the Netherlands. Not only is it a great way of burning energy while also getting from A to B, but it is kind on the joints and potentially less damaging for those with age-related stiffness and pain.

Cycling also improves your balance, making you work on your core in order to stay centred and stable on the saddle. An added benefit is that research shows cycling can sharpen your mind – meaning that you can get smarter and fitter at the same time.

Same time each day

It can be helpful to have a set time each day at which you are likely to be able to exercise most days. For example, you may be able to do some stretching or sit-ups first thing each morning. This is a great time to exercise, an early morning workout boosts metabolism and productivity.

Whatever time of day you can regularly fit in some exercise, using a fitness app can help by reminding you. It can also keep a log of all your exercise, which in turn keeps you motivated to keep it up.

Use the garden

The garden itself also provides a great space in which to exercise. The latter can include gardening; don’t underestimate the energy burned when doing things like mowing the lawn, weeding and trimming hedges. If you have young kids, meanwhile, make the most of opportunities for burning energy outdoors by joining in with games and activities.

Getting enough exercise: easier than you might think

Exercising regularly is not just important for your physical health, but your mental health too. The busy nature of people’s lives often means that, for some, it can be a struggle to make time for exercise on a daily basis. However, by incorporating exercise into your daily activities, making use of your garden and having a fitness app to prompt you, even the most unfit people can find ways of exercising regularly.

About the author 
Jane Epsom is a freelance writer with a special interest in researching natural and medicinal solutions to long-term pain.

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