Getting started

Taking more physical activity is easier than you think. Begin by putting a little extra effort into the things you do every day and soon there’ll be no stopping you!

Tips for success include:

  • Always be aware of how your body feels and don’t push it too far. Physical activity is not meant to be painful! You should be able to be active and carry on a conversation, so if it hurts, stop.
  • Gradually build up your activity to a total of 30 minutes a day. You don’t have to do it all in one go to get the benefits – two sessions of 15 minutes is just as good!
  • Try to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine by increasing your daily step count. You could do this by taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus a stop earlier or leaving the car at home for short journeys.
  • Don’t feel you’ve lost all the benefits if you miss a day.
  • It’s important to stretch your muscles before and after any strenuous exercise.
  • Check on your progress. Regular activities should begin to take less time or take less out of you.
  • The secret of success is doing something you really enjoy that you can fit into your life and you can keep doing regularly.
  • Try a number of activities before choosing those you like best.
  • It can be more fun to take physical activity with a partner or friends.

The majority of people, whatever their age or condition, can benefit from physical activity. If you enjoy good health and do not suffer from heart, bone or joint problems or pains in the chest, you can gradually build more activity into your life without consulting your doctor.

However, always check with your GP if you have had an illness, have any worries about your health, or if you have been inactive for a long time. You can improve your health by becoming more active even after a major illness, such as a heart attack, but you will need to do so under your doctor’s guidance.