Getting fit and healthy can sometimes feel like a major effort. However, there are many health-boosting changes you can make that won't feel like such a chore. To help make the shift into exercise and healthy living, check out our top 10 health tips for lazy people.
1. Build exercise into your routine Many of us think we need to spend hours working up a sweat at the gym to stay fit. But although intense workouts are beneficial, they can also be extremely off-putting and are not strictly necessary. Research shows that regular daily activity could be more effective than sporadic workouts, so rather than allotting a specific "exercise time" a day, try peppering your day with gentle bits of activity such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, doing the housework, or walking to the shops at lunch.
2. Make your own 'ready' meals We all know that eating fresh, home-made produce is good for us, yet many of us are too tired to whip up a culinary masterpiece after a hard day's work. But rather than falling into the trap of relying on store-bought ready meals that may lack in nutritional value, try making your own healthy versions instead. Cook healthy meals in large batches at the weekend so you have plenty of healthy choices in your freezer for days when you're too lazy to cook.
3. Get a pet to improve your health If you want big health results without making a big effort, getting a pet could be the way to go. Multiple research studies have shown that pet owners have improved physical and mental health, including lowered blood pressure, better ability to cope with adverse life effects, and lower stress levels. Getting a pet dog may just provide you with that push you need to get out and get active.
4. Exercise while watching TVBlobbing out in front of the telly can be the quickest way to pile on the pounds. However, couch potatoes needn't despair; there are many ways to keep healthy and active in front of the screen. To boost your fitness while watching TV, squeeze a mini-workout into each commercial break - try sit-ups, skipping or a quick run up and down the stairs. The golden rule is simply to keep moving, with research suggesting that even fidgeting while sitting can burn up to 350 calories a day.
5. Do a crossword puzzle If you really can't find the energy to put yourself through a workout, take the opportunity instead to work on another area of your body - your brain. Boosting your mental health is just as important as improving your physical wellbeing, and luckily this can be done from the comfort of your couch. Research has found that frequent participation in mentally stimulating activities can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease, so rather than switching on the television when you get in from work, give your brain a challenge and reach for a crossword, Sudoku puzzle or book instead.
6. Have leisurely meals If there's one instance where being lazy is an advantage, it's when you're eating your meals. Taking long, leisurely meals - as opposed to eating on the run or multi-tasking - is a great way to look after your digestive system and also help you lose weight. By eating more slowly and focusing on your food, you will enjoy and savour it more and cut the risk of overeating. Also, because it takes 20 minutes for your body to register the feeling of being full, by eating more slowly you will feel full after less.
7. Order a fruit and vege box If compiling your own healthy shopping lists feels too much like hard work, save time and energy by letting someone else do the work. Many farms and health food stores now deliver seasonal fruit and vegetables to local areas on a weekly basis, making it easy to try varied healthy produce without setting foot out your door. Alternatively, for those who want more and have pennies to spare, several companies now offer the option of having prepared healthy meals delivered direct to your home.
8. Hit the dance floor Although the idea of a workout fills many with dread, there are plenty of ways to stay fit without it feeling like hard work. If you struggle to get motivated for an organised exercise session, try turning a night out into a workout instead. Hitting the floor for a dance is a great way to get fit, burn calories and tone and strengthen the body. More importantly, you'll be getting a fun workout that won't feel like exercise.
9. Supplement your diet Keep falling off the healthy eating wagon? Try complementing your diet with a good quality nutritional supplement or "superfood". It's no substitute for a healthy eating regime, but on those days when your good intentions slip by the wayside a good supplement should help tide you over. Try a multi-vitamin complex or a natural "superfood", such as spirulina, wheatgrass or bee pollen, which is packed with nutrients to help keep your health on track.
10. Get lots of sleep Laziness is generally considered to be detrimental to your health. However, when it comes to sleeping, it can actually pay off. Research has found that sleep can help you live longer, boost your memory and reduce stress; it has also found that getting less than five hours a night can lead to accidents, weight gain and increased risk of heart disease. Maybe it's too much of a good thing, but getting a regular eight hour's sleep is a cheap and simple way to boost your health.