Team GB’s performance in the Rio Olympics has been declared inspirational with people of all ages and sizes across the country becoming motivated to exercise and get fit.
But, for others, a summer of action-packed sporting events has had the opposite effect. Millions of us, gripped by the passion and excitement in Brazil risk spending a season sprawled on the sofa devouring takeaways followed by a few celebratory drinks as the medals roll in.
Even BBC Radio Two’s Chris Evans admitted this week that his personal exercise regime had been reduced to walking to his car to drive to his local fast food outlet before diving on the couch to watch the Games on the box for most of the night.
For families, the combination of unmissable televised sport and school holidays can mean a drastic change of routine with unhealthy habits creeping in. A sedentary lifestyle can damage much more than your waistline – it’s been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. New research suggests that even those of us with the most sedentary jobs can reverse their risk with daily exercise.
So, in our bid to help you aim for Olympic style fitness levels and avoid obesity we have compiled some tips for a healthy Summer. And remember, with the football season now underway, this advice is a must all year around!
1) If you’re watching a major game or sporting event it can be tempting to replicate cinema style treats and fill the coffee table with cakes, chocolate, crisps and other naughty nibbles laden with calories. Try and replace these with healthier alternatives such as fruit and motivate yourself by admiring the physique of the athletes you’re watching. Eat healthily. Remember the five-a-day rule and avoid high fat, high salt, processed and sugary foods as much as possible.
2) If you know you will be in front of the TV for several hours during the evening, make sure you have scheduled some exercise during the day to compensate. Set a time for physical activity and stick to it. Research shows you’re more likely to find time to be active if you do it at the same time and on the same days each week.
3) Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories. You should aim to do 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling and swimming a week. You can achieve this target by doing 30 minutes five days a week and breaking down your activity sessions in chunks of 10 minutes. Even adding exercise into your everyday routine can help – like getting off the bus a stop early and walking or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
4) Exercise shouldn’t be boring. If you enjoy an activity you will keep it up. If you’re trying to get fitter as a family involve everyone in having a say in what they would like to do. Even a simple game of tag in the garden will help everyone burn calories.
5) Thinking of staying up late to watch TV? If this means losing out on shut eye you might want to think again. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and also shortens your life expectancy. Try and get into a regular routine to ensure sufficient, quality sleep for all the family.