Is exercise the only way to increase physical activity?

There is little doubt that exercise is good for us. Innumerable studies show the effect physical activity has on our mind, body, immune system, emotional well-being, cognitive skills and energy levels. It is why I have made the power of exercise medicine a lifetime’s work. Yet the majority of us remain unmotivated to make the extra effort to go to the gym, join a local sport team or walk 10,000 steps a day. It’s time to be more realistic about exercise and activity.

Using my smart watch to measure my activity levels and calorie usage, I compared the results following a typical working day which included an hour gym session, with a day moving house and supporting removal men. Can you guess which day achieved higher activity and burned more calories? It was of course moving day which saw me take 68% more steps and subsequently use 38% more calories!

We now know about the dangers of inactivity and the power of adding movement to our daily routine. We also know that consistent, frequent movement every day is a powerful way of improving physical and emotional well-being. Simply sitting less, standing more plus a little low-level activity throughout the day are effective ways of adding physicality to our lifestyle that can benefit you for a lifetime. This is the essence of the Active Movement programme.

And it is important we embed this behaviour from a young age. Here are examples of how you can incorporate more activity into children’s everyday routine at home:

  1. Get children to play computer games standing up
  2. If children are using a phone or tablet, make sure they stand regularly (if not all the time!)
  3. Make tidying the house or their bedroom part of an active movement
  4. Park the car a little further from the school and walk a little more (and you will avoid the congestion at the school gates!)
  5. Stand up to watch the advertisements on television
  6. Go for a short walk after a meal rather than just sit down


In addition, the Active Movement programme is easily incorporated into ever child’s school day without interfering with the curriculum or timetable. To find out more about the Active Movement programme for your school, see our dedicated website www.