Lyndsay Buckland: Every bit of exercise helps

This week has marked Scotland’s first ever Physical Activity Awareness Week which, as you would expect, is about encouraging us all to see the benefits of increased exercise as opposed to slumping on the sofa.

Exercise doesn't always have to involve heading to the gym Picture: Greg Macvean

The benefits range from the obvious, such as making you slimmer and fitter, increasing life expectancy due to reduced chance of serious disease, to the less obvious – exercising apparently makes us all happier.

And the amount of activity experts recommend, at 30 minutes five times a week roughly, isn’t exactly a big ask when it comes to demands on our time, is it?

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Yet most of us don’t get this much exercise and it seems a two-and-a-half hour commitment is just a walk, a jog or a sprint too far when it comes to the demands of modern life.

Despite constantly writing about the benefits of exercise and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, I am guilty as charged when it comes to not hitting these meagre targets.

In days gone by, in a life of singledom, going to the gym three or four times a week, while not always my top choice of recreational pursuit, was do-able.

I could congratulate myself for being one of those who paid their monthly gym fees and then actually went to the gym.

But just one small child later, I now wonder how I managed to find the time to go to the gym even once a week. Life is now dominated by two things – work and childcare. Exercise is limited to long walks to the office and nursery.

And I’d be lying if I said that my health hadn’t suffered as a result. So I always read with interest any tips about how we can incorporate more activity into everyday life.

Walking is one of them, so at least I can tick that one off, as well as using stairs rather than lifts.

If you have an office job, standing up while using the phone is another suggestion I have heard. This one I am less comfortable with.

If I saw someone hovering above their seat while talking on the phone then I might suspect that piles or some other posterior ailment is afflicting them.

Housework, such as hoovering and gardening, will also help. I’d like to say I could tick this one off too, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

The message is that you don’t need to run a marathon or climb Ben Nevis to get more active. Simple steps are the way to go if we’re to boost the nation’s health.

Inventing a time machine may also be helpful.