The key to exercise is little and often

Anna Watkins
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There are no two ways about it. The modern life we lead is about being able to manage and juggle. Being an elite athlete, maintaining a ‘normal’ family life, studying for my PHD and managing work off the water; it’s hard enough to cope with the trials and tribulations of life. To add to this, my newfound motherhood status has meant it can be tough to find enough hours in the day to get everything done. One thing that often gets neglected is making time to exercise, and I’m no stranger to this after competing in the Olympics in London, when I was no longer in training I discovered just how problematic it was to fit regular exercise around all my other commitments.

Exercise is incredibly important for our wellbeing. I can feel myself becoming irritable when I am not getting enough exercise a lack of endorphins that I was used to my body releasing. It has taken me a while, but I’ve worked it out. The trick is to build activity into your daily routine, so that it’s not something you have to make time for or go out of your way to do. Instead of using the car for short journeys, why not walk or cycle? And if the journey is too far to walk, cycling is not practical if you are pushing a buggy like me, or it’s time for the weekly shop, you can still leave the car at home and take the bus.

Even a short walk to and from the bus stop can help you get your daily recommended 10,000 steps or thirty minutes of daily exercise. Another bonus is, you don’t have to worry about where to park. While you are on the bus you can sit back and relax or start to tackle some of the other things on your to do list. The bus has allowed me to do things like read my PHD notes, and interact with my son William, which you just can’t do in a car.

It’s the little things done regularly that make a big difference. The walk from your front door to the bus stop may not seem very far, or something that would cause you to break into a sweat. But research by Dr David Lewis of Mindlab International shows that daily bus user’s walk on average an astonishing 11 marathons a year. Having just run my first marathon, I can tell you 11 marathons is an incredible distance and one that would make a real difference to your wellbeing.

This week is Catch the Bus Week, with events and promotions happening all across the country and there has never been a better time to leave the car at home and take the bus instead. That short walk done regularly is great way to fit exercise into your busy life. Whether you are training for the next Olympics or trying to maintain your level of fitness, the key is regular activity.

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