It can be difficult to start exercising again if you have been inactive for a long time. 

However, being active is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health, so it really is worth the effort. 

Exercise will boost your energy levels, help you lose weight, and reduce your risk of serious illness.

To help you get started, this post will share several essential tips for becoming physically active again.

Talk to your doctor

If you have experienced a chronic disease like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, or arthritis, you will need to talk to your doctor before you change your exercise routine. 

They will be able to tell you which types of exercise are appropriate for someone with your condition. 

 You can also have your doctor perform a pre-exercise screening test. 

This test will involve a physical examination and series of questions to determine which level of exercise is appropriate for your current condition. 

A doctor can even perform a few aerobic tests, to check your cardiovascular health before recommending a physical fitness program.

Identify your fitness goals

It often helps to identify the reasons why you want to become more active. 

For example:

  • Is your goal to lose weight?  Focusing on diet and aerobic exercise will be most advantageous
  • Do you want to gain muscle or strength?  Place an emphasis on weight lifting and bodyweight exercises.
  • Do you want to participate in a sporting event like a marathon or cycling race?  You will need to develop a training program that gradually gets your fitness to a level which is suitable for those activities.
  • Do you want to have fun?  Concentrate on team sports that improve your fitness while allowing you to have fun with other people.

It can also be helpful to identify the obstacles that have prevented you from remaining active in the past. 

Common obstacles include: 

  • A lack of time (Solution: Incorporate small workouts throughout the day) 
  • I’m too tired to exercise after work (Solution: Find a better time to work out)
  • I don’t want to exercise alone (Solution: Join a social or sporting club)
  • I’m too ill to exercise (Solution: Talk to your doctor to identify exercises that you can safely perform)
  • I have kids so I always run out of time (Solution: Trade babysitting with a friend or neighbour, or take the kids with you)

Start at a low-to-moderate intensity

If you haven’t been active for a while, start off slowly with some low-to-moderate intensity activities. 

This will give your time body to adjust and ensure that you don’t strain or injure yourself. 

If you haven’t gone for a run for 5 years, start with a brisk walk around the local park. 

If you are interesting in gaining muscle, use light weights and high repetitions until your joints and muscles are ready for heavier weights.

Consider using the “talk test” to determine if you are exercising at the right intensity. 

You should be able to speak a few words, but talking in full sentences or singing should be difficult. 

Stretching, warming up and cooling down

Stretching and warming are particularly important if you haven’t been physically active for a long time. 

Both activities will prepare your body for the upcoming activity and reduce the risk of injury.

Try this simple warm stretching and warm up routine

Alternately, you could warm up with some light aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, cycling, or rowing. 

Cooling down is also important as it helps your body recover by improving the efficiency of waste removal from the muscles. 

Perform some light aerobic exercises or stretching after your workout has finished.

Choose comfortable clothes and shoes

Getting started with a new physical activity will always be easier if you are appropriately attired. 

Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature.

If you are going to be outdoors, wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

Make physical activity a regular part of the day

This is one of the best tips for becoming more active. 

Try to find ways to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule until it becomes a habit. 

As an example, walk your dog for 30 minutes when you get home from work each day.

After 4 weeks of repeating this activity, it will be a habit and you will perform it without a second thought.

Choose activities that you enjoy

If the feeling of going on a 10km run, heading to the gym, or walking on a treadmill fills you with dread — don’t do it! 

Instead, find activities that you actually enjoy.

This will help you remain physically active over the long term, which is essential for obtaining the best health benefits.

Do you have young children or siblings in your family? 

Have some fun with them at the local playground.

You might be surprised by how physically exhausting it can be to chase an active child around a playground!

You could also think of ways to incorporate an activity you love with exercise. 

Do you love watching television?

Plop a TV in front of your treadmill or stationary bike and make it a habit to watch your favourite show while walking or running for 30 minutes.

Many people find it easier to remain motivated about exercise if they combine workouts with social activities. 

Heading to a yoga class is much easier if you do it with friends and have a cup of tea together after the class. 

Participating in a team is more enjoyable because you get to chat with your teammates after the game.

Do at least 10 minutes

Physical exercise is most effective when performed for at least 10 minutes. 

This gives you enough time to warm up, test your muscles, and get the heart rate up. 

Once you know this rule, you can begin to look for opportunities for 10 minute workouts throughout each day. 

These 10 minute mini-workouts could include a 10 minute walk during your lunch break or a 10 minute run around the local park when you get home. 

These mini-workouts will all add up to make you much more physically active and improve your health. 

Join a club

There are thousands of sporting and social clubs around the UK which have a focus on physical activity. 

Many of these clubs are ideal for people who are interested in becoming more active.

They range from dog walking groups to gardening clubs and sports clubs. 

One of the best ways to find a club is to use a website like Meet Up

You can do a search for clubs in your local area and see what is available. 

If you look at the London meetup page, you’ll see groups like London Weekend Walks and 45+ Not grumpy old Londoners

Participating in these groups can help you get out of the house and have some fun while improving your physical fitness.

Be more physically active at work

One clever technique to become more physically active is to incorporate more movement into your work day. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Take steps instead of using the elevator
  • Park your car away from the office and walk the last kilometre
  • Take a walk during your lunch break
  • Use a standing desk to reduce the time you spend sitting 

Thanks for reading Physical Activity: Tips On Getting Started. 

For more fitness tips, bookmark my website!

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