There are lots of different ways to be active but it is worth asking yourself a few questions that will help you to choose the type of activity that would suit you best. It is also worth having a think about some of the things that you perhaps enjoy doing, such as taking the dog for a walk. By identifying activities that you enjoy taking part in means that you are more likely to stick with it long term.
How much time do I have?
This is a really important question to consider, there is no point in trying to attend a class three times a week if you have a busy lifestyle that would not be able to accommodate this. The important point here is to not set yourself up to fail before you have even started. So if you have a busy working week then it may be worth considering how you commute to work and back for example. Can you walk to work? Could you get off the bus or train a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way? Are you able to take a walk at lunchtime or maybe you could arrange walking meetings with colleagues.
There are many ways that you could consider incorporating physical activity into your normal daily life as opposed to doing a standalone activity which may seem a little more daunting at this stage.
Who do I want to exercise with?
– By myself
– With friends
– With family
This is fundamental in ensuring that you are able to continue with the plan. You may want to use the time you spend exercising as “your time”; It may be that this is the only time you have by yourself, and you would value the peace and quiet! You can also use exercise as a means of socialising so why not arrange to meet with a friend and go for a walk or run depending on your levels of fitness. This is also a fantastic way to keep you motivated as the research shows that if you exercise with another person then you are always more than likely to attend the session as you do not want to let your friend down by not turning up.
You can also use exercise as family time too, there are many parents that go for a jog or bike ride with their children on a regular basis. This is a fantastic way to also ensure that your children understand the importance of leading active lifestyle and hopefully this is then a habit that they will continue throughout their own lives with their families.
What will motivate me?
-Socialising with others
– Achieving a personal goal
– Feeling less stressed
This is the million dollar question and one that you need to establish the answer to early on to ensure adherence. If you are motivated by the fact that it enables you to socialise with others than you perhaps you need to ensure that you exercise with friends or family or maybe attend classes and so on. If it is more a personal goal, then it may be that you are already quite motivated to achieve it and so exercising alone would enable you to do this. In terms of reducing your stress levels, exercise is proven to reduce your levels of Cortisol (stress hormones), but it may be that an activity with a wellbeing focus, such as walking in the countryside or doing yoga, would be most effective.
Once you have considered the questions above you will then be able to hopefully make an informed decision about what type of exercise is right for you. On the left are different types of activity you may want to consider. Click on the ones that appeal to you to find out more.