We may have come across the term "sedentary behaviour" which refers to sitting for prolonged duration and not moving enough (aka being too nua). Leading a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other serious chronic lifestyle diseases.. Therefore, as a form of preventative measure, an active lifestyle is key!

But knowing these facts doesn't seem to motivate us enough to get off our comfy sofas to exercise and meet our weekly physical activity recommendations (at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and at least 2 days of moderate to vigorous strength training per week).

Let’s take that first step with these easy ways to sneak physical activity or a workout routine into everyday life.

Observe Your Activity Levels

Be aware of your activity levels.

Before we put on our sports shoes,  find a way to track your day-to-day movement, the idea is to gain awareness of how much we move. Consider downloading apps that help with movement tracking or pen it down!

For example, at work, how many hours do you spend seated at your desk? Do you eat in or head out for lunch?

When you travel to and from work, how far do you walk to the bus stop or MRT station? Do you climb the stairs or take the lift?

Over the weekend, do you spend time with your family at the nearby shopping centre? Or perhaps you hardly leave the house, preferring to lepak at home.

After noting these down, you should be more aware of how active you are. Now let’s pinpoint areas where you can sneak in more physical activity!

Related: How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Engage in Physical Activity in Small Spaces

There are creative ways to increase physical activity in small spaces.

One simple tweak for office warriors is to get a standing desk. Sitting too much increases risk for type 2 diabetes, standing breaks up time being sedentary.

Not a fan of standing while working? Take frequent breaks: for every hour of sitting, get up and walk for 5 minutes. Grab a cup of water, stretch or go to the loo.

And if you often eat at your desk, one way to increase your steps is to walk to your lunch place and skip the food delivery. Grab your colleagues and head to the nasi padang place you've been too lazy to visit.

Aim to Break Up Sedentary Time with Steps

Increase your activity levels by walking more or taking the stairs.

You can also add steps and increase your physical activity by changing your public transport routine. Alight a stop before your destination and brisk walk the rest of the way. Walking can help reduce stress, taking time to step out for a walk gives you the opportunity to get away from stressors, breathing fresh air and allowing your body to move is a natural stress-relief. Walking, and other exercises leads to the release of the body's natural happy drugs – endorphins. Most people notice an improvement — a good way to end the workday.

At your destination, take the stairs instead of the lift. And double the calories burned by running up those stairs instead of walking.

Related: How to Stay Motivated and Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

Home Workouts

Engage in simple daily exercises at home to get the most out of your day.

Leisure time doesn’t mean you have to be lazy. Do some light stretching while watching your favourite dramas. If that’s too easy, try doing some jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

Related: Exercise at Home: Burn Calories While Watching TV!

Activities to Improve Physical Health

Learning how to increase physical activity starts with incorporating small changes in your routine.

Take family-time a step further: hit the malls and increase your physical activity levels with Singapore’s favourite pastime, shopping. (Hint: window shop to protect your wallet!)

Prefer the outdoors? Head to one of Singapore’s many parks for a walk or cycle, and enjoy the fresh air, lush greenery, and wildlife.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

For more information on how to prevent diabetes, visit our Diabetes Hub.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Preventing Diabetes: Move More