OK, hands up… who ate one mince pie too many, or drank too much prosecco over Christmas? I know I did!
In past years the 1st January would have seen me resolving to lose those post-Christmas pounds and improve my fitness by getting back into some kind of exercise. This year though, I have far too any excuses…
I’m self employed and run two businesses – I don’t have the time to exercise!
I have two young children.
I’m permanently knackered thanks to those two children providing me with endless broken nights of sleep.
But the real reason for me is that I have recently been diagnosed with adult hip dysplasia, and right now my surgeon says walking and swimming are my only fitness options. And I hate getting my face wet in the swimming pool!
So this year, as I could feel the mince pie guilt creeping in, I was overjoyed to stumble across an article in RED magazine which suggested it was possible to get fitter without wearing lycra or getting wet in the swimming pool, but simply by moving more.
Reading on, the article discussed METs – metabolic equivalent units. Forget hours in the gym, or steps on your FitBit, METs are the measurement of how much oxygen an activity uses, and therefore can be used to measure intensity per minute. And the best news is that apart from sleeping or sitting (sitting is being called the new smoking after all! ), every movement has a MET value and contributes to your fitness – including all those tasks you’re probably doing already on a daily basis such as hanging/folding laundry, cooking, clearing the table, washing up, popping up/down stairs, hoovering, walking, grocery shopping, and even fidgeting at your desk!!!
You can find a comprehensive list of activities, and their associated MET values here, but remember not to include anything with a value or 1 MET or less. Research shows that moving more than 600 METs per week not only increases your fitness, but also dramatically reduces your risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
But how does it work? Well let’s look at meal preparation – we all have to eat after all! Cooking a meal that requires moderate effort such as mashing potatoes, chopping ingredients and generally pottering around the kitchen to fetch ingredients and utensils, clocks in at 3.3 METs per minute. Since I have food intolerances that make eating “convenience” or “ready made” foods difficult, I make every meal from scratch and that can take me 30 minutes or longer, so I’m racking up 30 x 3.3 = 99 METs each time I cook. Add in laying the table, clearing the table, washing up, and those METs are starting to add up.
In fact, a quick tot-up of my average day showed I was doing over 1000 METs without even trying… and if I was to move more or even just walk faster, I could improve on that score and my fitness. So say “hello” to my new years resolution! Why not make it yours?
Happy new year!