When it comes to how much exercise we should do to stay healthy, 30 minutes a day is the mantra that has been drummed into us over the last few years. However, that may not be the case for those of us over 50, after the publication of a study conducted by Queensland University of Technology researchers. We all know that exercise is good for us both physically and mentally, but that 30 minutes has been shown to be not quite enough. We need to be doing 30-45 minute of exercise that leaves us puffing, five times a week to get the most benefit from it. For most of us, 30-45 minutes is a 5km run. Sounds easy, but it’s not easy to fit that into an already busy week. In fact, one of the papers quoted in this article specifically said “the most common barrier to regular exercise in midlife women was related to the demands and multiple roles of their life stage” Partners, children, jobs and household chores all take up time, where do we fit in that run, or swim, or bike ride? Here are some suggestions on how a busy wife/mum/worker can fit in those 30 minutes a day.
- Start your day earlier. I have been known to sleep in my running gear so I can head out as soon as the alarm goes off, grabbing a banana on the way. It means that I can squeeze the 30 minutes in before the day starts because once the family are up and about, I’m usually out of luck. If I leave it to the end of the day, I’m too knackered and just want to curl up on the couch with my dog and vegetate to the latest reality television show.
- Run or ride to or from work. This relies on your workplace having showers available to freshen up so you don’t distress your workmates. If you can’t go the full distance, perhaps getting off the bus or train a few stops earlier to run the rest of the way is possible.
- Date night can be a date run. This happens in our house. My hubby and I will go out for a run with the dogs and chat about our day. We not only get our exercise but we get some rare time together.
- Get your children moving. The obesity statistics for young people aren’t good so you don’t want your little people getting used to a sedentary lifestyle. Take them out on their bike or scooter while you run; it’s good for both of you. Be prepared to spend a little more time because there can be stumbling blocks – shoelaces become undone, there’s the occasional tumble, but you can still get your exercise in. If your little ones are old enough, they can start running and the couch to 5k app is brilliant for this. Both of my children have worked through this app and I am now officially the slowest in my household.
- Rope your girlfriends into becoming runners, and go for a run instead of for coffee and cake. This has worked well for me!
- Make a recurring date in your calendar and let your family know that it is your time. This works well for a weekly bootcamp or boxing session because they’re on at the same time each week and your family will get used to it.
If you can try a few of these each week you’ll nail those five 30 minute sessions easily.
If you’re interested, here’s the full text of the QUT study: