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Starting your fitness journey

Staying active is essential to keeping fit and healthy. Here are some simple ways of building physical activity into your weekly schedule.

Whether you’re hoping to lose weight or improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness, getting active is an essential part of staying healthy. Making a solid plan is one of the best ways of sticking to a fitness regime, so we’ve put together a selection of ideas to get you started.

Before you start…

If you have had an injury in the past or currently have any aches and pains, you should get in touch with a sports injury clinic or a physiotherapist before you start a new regime. This is to make sure you’re doing the right kind of exercise, at the right intensity.

Make time

It’s important to remember that getting fit takes time. You should start slowly and build it up to avoid becoming bored of your routine or risking sports injuries. Rather than trying to do exercise on as many days as you can, be realistic about when you could spare some time and write it in the diary to help you stick to it.

Set realistic goals

Identify weak points that you would like to work on, whether that’s improving your stamina, increasing your flexibility or building your core strength, and set the goals you want to achieve. It is also a good idea to, set mini targets that you can achieve every week so you can recognise your ongoing progress and stay motivated.

Get the right gear

Spending some money on the right clothes and gear for your activity will help to boost your confidence while you’re exercising. Make sure they are well fitting and supportive so you feel comfortable, and opt for fast-drying materials to prevent you feeling constantly sweaty.

Nutrition and diet

Keeping fit should be accompanied by a well-balanced diet for a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking to lose weight, it could be worthwhile speaking to a dietary consultant who can organise a suitable diet plan for you. This will ensure you’re getting the best from your mix of diet and exercise.

Ways to get fit

Busy work schedules, social diaries and family life can make finding time to exercise very difficult, so here are some simple ways of getting active.

Aim for 10,000 steps

It’s recommended that most people aim to walk around 10,000 steps a day1. To walk more, try swapping your desk lunch for your trainers and going for a half an hour walk on your break. Come wind, rain or shine, try to walk wherever you can, whether you’re nipping to the shop, meeting up with a friend or picking the children up from school. One way to get those extra steps in is o take the stairs rather than the lift and by investing in a pedometer, you can keep track of how many steps you’re walking each day.

Outdoor games

 Busy family life can get in the way of even the best laid exercise plans, so if you have children why not build their games into the plan and get involved. Games like ‘stuck in the mud’, ‘catch’, ‘it’ and ‘hide and seek’ can be great forms of exercise, and they’re great fun for everyone to enjoy. More often than not, it won’t even feel like you’re exercising and you can wear a pedometer to show you how much you’ve moved around.

Exercises at home

Quick exercise routines are easy to fit into your day. You could invest in an exercise video or look for clips on the internet for an idea of what to do. Routines typically span from 10 to 30 minutes and there is a huge variety to choose from. Try to do 75 minutes of fast-paced aerobic exercise a week – you could do two 30-minute routines and one 15-minute session, for example.

Skipping and hula hooping

Many of us had a skipping rope or a hula hoop as a child, and they are great for keeping adults active too. By skipping for 30 seconds and then marching on the spot for 30 seconds, and starting again, you can burn lots of calories and increase your cardiovascular fitness. Hula hooping for a few minutes in the morning and at night is a fun way of getting moving. With both exercises, you can easily set reachable goals while learning or honing these skills.

Try a new class or activity

It’s easy to become bored of a routine that we repeat three or four times a week, so try doing something different once a week or every couple of weeks for a bit of variety. From climbing to kayaking, yoga and pilates, there are lots of different classes and activities you can try and there are professionals on hand to show you the correct technique and help you develop. Not only will you test yourself and try something different, sports activities and classes tend to be a social form of exercise, too.

For extra help…

For support with getting started on a fitness regime, consider having a private health check. A professional will be able to advise you on the best way to achieve your goals.