Health matters

Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.
Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.

As part of our ongoing series of health columns, Julie Hirst, public health specialist for NHS Derbyshire County, including Buxton and the High Peak, talks about getting active.

“I need to get more active, but I just can’t find the time” is a thought that often springs to mind when busy people are prompted to take action to improve their health. The good news is that busy mums, families, young people, office workers and older adults can build physical activity into their lives.

Being physically active is easier than you think, especially if you make activity part of your daily routine. If you are a busy Mum then walking your children to and from school is a good form of exercise if that is possible. Take steps to be active with your child and take them to the swimming pool or play in the garden or park. Why not set up a buggy group with other mums and go on long walks with the children? If parents are physically active, their children are likely to follow their example and to be active too.

If you work in an office there are a number of ways you can keep active.

Stand while talking on the telephone and walk over to someone’s desk at work rather than calling them on the phone. It is always better to take the stairs instead of the lift, or get out of the lift a few floors early then use the stairs. Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break. Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take. Try to find different walks, and alternate between them during the week. Build up gradually to walking 10,000 steps a day.

Try to exercise before or after work as well as during your lunch break. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.

So, being busy is not always a barrier to leading a more active lifestyle. You might think being active involves going to the gym, an exercise class or playing a sport, but it’s not just that. Just think of it in a more everyday way that incorporates some activity into your daily routine - even simple things like doing more walking.

Being active includes any physical activity that you do, including cleaning the house and gardening, travelling on foot or by bicycle, manual jobs at work as well as sport and activities in your spare time.

Pick activities that you like and that fit easily into your daily routine.

Work out what time is best for you to exercise and stick to it. Above all, reduce the amount of time you sit or lie down during the day. More

tips and ideas and details of activities near you can be found at