Back to News

Top fitness tips and advice for families in 2017

We are committed to helping the military community live healthier, happier and longer

Top fitness tips and advice for families in 2017

Posted on 05/01/2017

Tom Sunderland

Filed under Health

Do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week

Service men and women are renowned for being fit and healthy, and it's no coincidence that military fitness classes are some of the most popular around. We are committed to helping the military community live healthier, happier and longer, including the rest of the military family – family members of those who are serving, those who are no longer serving either because of retirement or because they have changed career, and contractors - can make sure that they are as fit and healthy as possible in 2017 and beyond.

Our core recommendation is that all adults between 19 and 64 years strive to uphold the government’s guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, plus strength exercises that work all the major muscles at least twice a week.

James Wotton, our Healthcare Advisor  says. “We fully appreciate that these numbers sound pretty daunting and that many people will be thinking that they are unable to fit so much exercise into their already busy lives, but here are our top 10 tips and tricks to make it feel more achievable and sustainable:

1. Go hard or go home

One minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity, so grit your teeth and do as much vigorous activity as you can manage and build it up over time by making your high impact bursts longer and the in-between recovery time shorter. British Military Fitness classes are a great option as the sessions are intense and involve a lot of running,both jogging and some sprinting, press-ups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks and burpees. Be prepared to work hard and for the fact that you are going to sweat a lot!

2. Break it down

When broken down across the week, 150 minutes of physical activity equates to 30 minutes on five days, with two rest days. 

3. Get away from your desk

Those in sedentary jobs should break up long periods of sitting with light activity such as taking the stairs, going for a walk in your lunch break and getting off public transport a stop early and walking the rest of the way where possible. 

4. Embrace walking

It’s good for bones and muscles, it burns calories and builds stamina while helping to beat stress and cutting the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and the risk of some cancers.

5. Get motivated

Enter an event such as a sponsored run or swim so that you have something to aim and train for or sign up to a series of exercise classes with a friend, your partner and/or kids. Another great option is to invest in a fitness band such as the Microsoft Health Band. It tracks data and provides insights about step counts, heart rate, calorie burn, workout and sporting achievements as well as sleep quality via the free Microsoft Health app (Windows Store, Play Store, and App Store). It will help you understand your current, and changing fitness levels, and ultimately how being physically active benefits your overall health.

6. Get the family involved

Family cycle rides and 5k Park Runs, which take place in public parks throughout the country, are all idea for families, and for those who with a competitive streak try team exercises and partner work such as relay races, tug of war and arm wrestling. The idea of doing anything as a group is that there are lots of people to encourage and cheer each other on. 

7. Mix it up

It’s highly likely that you will get bored if you do the same class or cycle route week in, week out, so try to make yourself a rota of different activities that you rotate on a monthly basis to keep things varied and stop you getting bored.

8. Keep things convenient

You are unlikely to feel like driving 40 minutes to the gym on a rainy Thursday evening after work, so stay as local as you can and find a mix of activities to fit around work and your weekends so that they easily fit into your everyday life. Likewise make sure you have some good options for both good and bad weather so that you’re not tempted to let the rain be an excuse.

9. Play it safe

It’s recommended that you see your GP if you have any concerns about your health before you start increasing your exercise, and you probably wouldn't want to be carrying someone on your back at your first military fitness session! Taking it steady, listening to your body and stretching at the start and end of a session will all stand you in good stead, but if you do get injured, visit the relevant health professional such as a GP or physiotherapist as soon as possible.  Private healthcare and/or a discretionary plan to manage the cost of a range of health treatments, such as our Health Cash Plan, will give you added peace of mind.

10. Have fun

Not everyone enjoys exercise, but if you manage to find enjoyment and fun as well as the motivation to get or keep fit healthy, you will be much more likely to stick at it.