How to get more physical activity into your day

How to get more physical activity into your day


Mon 27 July

Feeling lethargic and unmotivated? Here's how to get more physical activity into your day.

With lockdown easing and gyms, swimming pools and exercise centres back open for business, you might be feeling some pressure to get in the gym. But the reality is, the UK is still navigating a health pandemic where people living with a brain tumour, as well as their families and friends, are in high risk groups. 

 

With that in mind, it’s no surprise if you don’t feel like the gym is the right place for you at the moment. Likewise, vigorous exercise might not be something you feel much like doing. That said, physical activity is important for our brains and our bodies, and trying to fit some moderate activity into your day – no matter how small – will bring a raft of health benefits, especially for those living with a brain tumour.
 

Why is being physically active important?

 

We are meant to move. The human body isn’t designed to be sat down all day. Moving and physical activity helps everything: circulation and digestion; metabolism and energy levels; relaxation and sleep. An active lifestyle can ultimately help you live longer by reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

 

Physical activity can also help tackle fatigue and depression, both common side effects of a brain tumour diagnosis. 
 

Why being physically active doesn't mean having to run a 10K


Let’s face it – many of us wouldn’t or couldn’t run a 10K! The NHS advises that adults should aim to be physically active every day, with a mixture of strengthening activities that work the major muscles and at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.

 

The best way to get regular physical activity into your day is to mix things up. A combination of aerobic exercise, strength building, balance training, endurance training and flexibility training will increase your overall fitness and keep you interested. Below are some ideas for physical activities in each of these areas to help you get more movement into your day.

Ideas for aerobic exercise


Aerobic exercise is what you typically think of when you hear the word exercise. Of course, this includes your 10K’s and high-intensity training, but it can also mean going for a brisk walk every day, mowing your garden, riding a bike and dancing around the kitchen. Are you back at work now? No problem! Walking meetings are all the rage right now.

 

You could mix this “moderate intensity” activity up with more “vigorous activities” such as jogging, skipping, swimming and walking up and down the stairs!

Ideas for strength building activities

 

Strength training increases your muscle mass, strengthens your bones, improves balance and makes it easier to control your weight. Of course you can build this up by lifting weights in the gym, but it’s important to note that you don’t have to own weights to do strengthening exercises either!

 

Carrying heavy shopping bags, gardening, movements that use your own body weight such as sitting and standing – these all count! Even doing an exercise video holding tins of beans will do it!

Ideas for balance training activities

This training is particularly helpful if you’re struggling with balance, which can be a side effect of a brain tumour diagnosis. Simple balance exercises such as sideways walking and one-leg stands can help with this, and can be done in the home, as well as more structured exercise classes such as Tai Chi.

Ideas for endurance training


The word endurance sounds a bit scary, but all it really means is increasing the period of time you exercise for. So that can mean building your daily walk time up from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, or swimming for an extra two lengths every week. If you’re interested in building your endurance, why not join our Step Into September virtual challenge? You can enter this as an individual or a team and set your own step challenge for September – or we can set one for you! If you’re interested in getting involved, email Kate on kate@yorksbtc.org.uk

Ideas for flexibility training

 

Finally, flexibility improves your quality of life and is especially important if you spend long periods of time sitting down.
Consider carrying out daily stretches to improve your flexibility or following along to yoga and pilates workouts on YouTube. 
 

How hard should I be working?
 

Exercise can be done at different levels of intensity:

 

Moderate intensity – if you exercise at a moderate intensity you can expect to have a raised heart rate, faster breathing and feel warmer. You will still be able to talk but you won’t be able to sing.

 

Vigorous intensity – If you exercise at a vigorous intensity your breathing will be hard and fast. You won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

 

We hope this has helped you discover new ways of getting more physical activity into your day. If you’re interested in signing up for a physical challenge, please contact Kate on kate@yorksbtc.org.uk or head over to the events section of our website.


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