IN her second column for Press Sport, retired judo star, Steph Inglis, looks at how you can find time during the week to help you become more active.

by Steph Inglis

DID YOU know the NHS physical activity guidelines for adults is two hours per week, while a child is one hour per day?

Today, I want to focus on how we can get more physically active as an adult. Really, two hours a week is not a lot of time, and I personally would encourage you to be physically active every day, even if that is for 20-30 minutes.

In this column, I am going to help you find two-plus hours a week and how you can become more active.

READ MORE: Introducing Press Sport's new columnist, Steph Inglis

After my accident, doctors told me that they put my recovery down to the fact I was so physically fit and strong, which is why it is so important to me to encourage as many people as I can to become fitter and healthier so we can be best prepared for whatever we might face in the future.

The first piece of advice I would give to an adult who is looking to increase their physical activity levels and improve their health, but doesn’t know where to start, is to get into a routine.

Being physically active (PA) doesn’t mean you have to be out running a half marathon every other day. You need to find something that works for you, but first you need to get into a manageable routine and hold yourself accountable.

Find time on a Sunday to plan out your week – what days are you working, how long for, what is your commute, are you doing the school run, are you taking the kids to any night-time activities?

Write it all down in a diary, a notepad, whatever works. Now you have a base, and hopefully some free time, that you can slot in some PA.

"Wait a minute Steph, I want a bit of time to myself and catch up with friends too!" No problem. Why not take a 20-minute walk with the family after dinner, plug in your headphones and call a friend while out on a walk, even better if they live nearby, meet up with them and go together or enjoy a 'virtual' walk.

Walking is a great starting point for everyone, and you can even encourage your work colleagues to go out with you for 20 minutes over lunch time – helping not only your physical but mental health too. One 20-minute walk a day is already one hour and 40 minutes of activity for the week!

Another way of getting those minutes in could be taking up a new sport or join a class. Google, or look at a community noticeboard or timetables at your nearest leisure centre, community hall, church etc to find out what local clubs and classes are in your area.

Better yet, why not go with a friend? You would have strength in numbers, and it can be something fun to look forward to each week. Yoga, badminton, swimming, boxing, judo – there are so many different classes available that offer adult recreational sessions, so don’t worry, you won’t be expected to train for the Commonwealth Games next year.

Not only will joining a new club help contribute to those essential minutes, it will also help support our local clubs.

Exercise can be scary, especially if you are unsure where to begin, but you can download lots of different free apps and carry out some workouts in the comfort of your own home. One free app I enjoy is FitOn.

You can also look to join your local gym and speak with a personal trainer, who can design you a programme to help you achieve your fitness goals, guide, and motivate you along the way.

"But Steph, this can all start to add up and get expensive." I totally understand this, but again, we are not training for the next Olympics.

All you need to increase your activity levels is a positive attitude, a pair of trainers and holding yourself accountable. We can get outside for a walk, jog or run; search YouTube for home workout videos or download free apps to help inspire us.

We must begin and look forward to where we will be in four weeks’ time. Consistent effort will lead to results! I believe in you.

Young people will follow in our footsteps and become fitter, healthier versions of themselves. We must all do our part and ensure we increase our physical activity levels!

As an adult, getting into a good routine of exercising regularly will normalise this for younger generations and help create a butterfly effect that young people will follow in our steps and become fitter and healthier.

I will also write a piece on how we can help and encourage our young people and children to get more active.

Becoming more active not only makes you healthier and stronger, it is also great for your mental health and maintaining a healthy weight.