Exercise... An Introduction
Exercise is a really important factor in staying healthy. It’s not always easy with busy jobs and long days, but it’s important to try and be as active as you can and where possible start moving more every day.
As well as generally moving more, it’s recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like fast walking, cycling, water aerobics, volleyball, hiking, and even mowing the lawn. During this type of activity, you should feel warm and your heartbeat will increase, but you’ll still be able to hold a conversation.
A good target to work towards is 30 minutes, 5 days a week, but if this seems a little daunting you can always break it up into 10 minute segments throughout the day. The important thing is to get up and out a few times a week and build active into your daily routine where possible.
If you’re finding it difficult to dig out those trainers and get going, it can help to remind yourself of the many benefits of regular exercise - it boosts energy, improves our mood, sleep, and health, and reduces anxiety, stress, and depression. Pretty amazing, really. Find out more about how exercise can improve your mental health with this free course from The Open University.
So with that in mind, here are some tips on how to start and how to keep going:
- The most important thing is to find an exercise that you enjoy - exercise really doesn’t have to be a chore!
- Get a buddy. Exercising with a friend can make a world of difference - you can spur each other on, make it fun and you’re less likely to skip it if someone is counting on you.
- Start gradually – if you do too much too soon you might be put off. Even 10 minutes per day is a great base to build on.
- Slowly build on the amount of activity you do so that it becomes part of your daily routine and not just a passing phase you find too difficult to keep up. People who do this are far more successful with long term weight control and maintenance.
- Set realistic daily and weekly goals. If you’re not a morning person, plan your exercise for the evening; if you struggle to motivate yourself in the evening, why not try lunchtime?
- Book it in! Treat exercise like you would any other daily commitment like going to work or attending an appointment – put it in your diary and stick to it!
- Listening to music, especially something with an energetic beat, can help to spur you on while you’re exercising. It also makes it a lot more fun!
- Use an App. There are plenty of great fitness Apps and tools out there, from ones that simulate being chased by a horde of zombies to get you running, to the NHS’s Couch to 5k podcast which gives you step by step guide on how to start running. Have a look in your App store!
Do you have an impairment or long-term health condition that prevents you from getting active?