Sunday, 3 March 2013

STEPS 11 - Its time to move it move it!

OK so you now have this beautiful car that you are fueling with PREMIUM petrol, which, by the way, the engine and all the other bits and pieces under the hood (!!) are thanking you for!

But really, the car is not going to perform well if it isn't taken for a regular drive, right?!   

Are you catching my drift yet?!

We have been doing all of this great work around food and pouring a heap of nutrients into our bodies, so its now about time to add movement into the equation and gain some different health benefits.

Hey, don't stop reading this as visions of pumping iron in the mirrors of a gym or sprinting through the finish line of the Hawaiian Marathon go through your mind!  That is NOT what I am suggesting, nor is it needed to gain the benefits of exercise.

What has been found to be extremely beneficial is just a mere 30 minutes of incidental exercise each day.  And before you say you are too busy for that, I'll say that you don't even need to do the 30 minutes all together!  10 minutes here, 10 minutes there.  It all adds up.  And like the car, your heart, organs, blood, lungs, mind and, well, pretty much every living cell in your body will thank you for it.

Firstly, the endorphines that are released from physical activity are medicine for your mind right there!  There are countless studies that have shown a direct correlation between physical activity and improvements in depressive and anxiety states.

Secondly, as we all know, exercising does burn energy, and therefore the goal of losing and/or maintaining weight is made easier by exercising while eating a balanced, whole foods diet.  The 80/20 rule suggests that whilst 80% of a ' healthy weight' is achieved by diet/food, it is not the only factor - 20% is still a significant number in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Another benefit of physical activity is the increase in muscle mass.  Not bulging muscles!!  Just enough to strengthen and support the core, strengthen bones and joints, and help lower the risk of osteoporosis.  As we all get older, our bodies really start to tell us if we haven't been strengthening and exercising it.  Instead of using age as an excuse not to get physical, we should be preparing our bodies for the toughest times ahead.  Who wants to spend 30+ years of life moaning and groaning from aches and pains??  Not me!

And did you know that even once you stop your exercise session, the kilojoules continue to burn for a while after, meaning that the benefits last longer than just the session itself!  And by also building muscle mass in the body, the muscle burns more kilojoules than fat, meaning a boosted metabolism that works for you even when your sleeping!!!

So how can you work 30 minutes of activity into your already busy day?  Of course a brisk walk, dancing, swimming or other intentional exercise is fantastic, but there are a lot of other ways that we can increase our heart rate and get the blood pumping while going about our daily tasks.

Heard of incidental exercise?

Taking the stairs instead of a lift 
Parking at the back of the car park instead of at the front door 
Walking to a colleagues desk instead of emailing 
Housework such as vacuuming and mopping 
Squatting instead of bending over
Get off the bus/train two stops before your regular stop
Play with the kids instead of watching
Take away the TV remote and get up to change the channel 


Before I became a stay at home mum, I had a corporate job that meant 10+ hours a day/5 days a week sitting idle at a desk.  In those days I was definitely less active during the day however I would try to jog before and/or after work and go to the gym on the weekend.  But that was still a lot of time sitting still.  So for the last couple of years I actually swapped my desk chair for a fit ball!  It was my way of doing something while sitting down.  So even just sitting on a fit ball correctly turns on your core muscles and helps your posture.  Then just doing a few leg lifts whenever you thought about it or rolled around on the ball would all work your body more than it would sitting on a conventional chair!  Have a chat to your manager/company to see if that is something that you could do too.  Perhaps you may start a trend and get the whole office on board!

Nowadays my exercise regime is some light weights at home 4-5 times/week, a bit of abs work 4-5 times/week, 2-3 1hr gym sessions, and depending on the week, either a pram walk or two or a couple of jog/walks after the boys go to sleep.

As with all of our STEPS, its just a matter of getting into the habit.  Most regular exercisers will tell you that once you have that habit, you will really enjoy it and find you'll miss it if you stop.  Just look at all of those 'The Biggest Loser' contestants.  They are people who had not exercised pretty much at all for years, yet by the end of their journey, they LOVED being active.

So here is our task.  Think honestly about the amount of movement you do each day.  Then have a think about ways you can increase that activity level in a way that is sustainable for you.  Then..... get out there and do it!

Lets aim to do 30 minutes of incidental and/or intentional exercise x 5 days/week.  And if you are doing more than that already, GREAT!  You may find that you can increase that by just taking the stairs, walking more briskly, parking further from the shops etc.  We can all improve our exercise regime (well, unless any Hawaiian Ironmen/women are reading this blog.  Then I guess they probably do enough, just!!!)

Check in to Mellymaks Facebook page regularly and share what you are doing each day to get yourself moving.


  1. What worked for me is ditching the car. I don't always have time for a run but I can ride or jog my 5 yo to her ballet class or the 2 yos to their music class or take 2 of the kids to do the shopping in the cargo bike. all good and more importantly, rather than a burst of exercise + massive tracts of sedentary time, it's lots of bursts of activity. and it saves petrol money too, and it feels like I get more engaged time with the kids. but that said I live in a very flat area!

    1. Thanks for commenting! And you are probably more active overall for making this change. Its all of that 'incidental exercise' that adds up to be more beneficial than a planned run a couple of times a week! Keep up the great work ( :

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