For many, it can feel like too big a step to take to join an exercise class and being clad in lycra and getting sweaty with strangers is not something they’d ever choose. There are lots of smaller steps towards regular exercise to get started with. Even a little bit of movement is good for you, so make a commitment to your future health by getting started.
“Don’t set the goal too big because you may fail, and then once you’ve failed you may feel like you just can’t achieve any of what you would like to. Make a plan to first get out and be active, maybe reach out to a local gym or fitness classes for some guidance.”Jemma Fulbrook
An early morning stretch to ease out your muscles can be fitted in around your pre-breakfast schedule. Make a game of stretching while you dress or challenging yourself to balance on one leg while you clean your teeth. It will start to make you more aware of your body and how you feel.
Take a deep breath of fresh air, feel the wind, rain or sun on your skin, blow the cobwebs away. Mental health practitioners recommend outdoor activity as a good way to start feeling better. Being in nature can give you a sense of calm and peace.
Make it social
Meet a friend for a short walk. Catch up with people you enjoy spending time with and include exercise as part of the occasion. They may well be looking for a reason to move more too and you can support each other on your journey to feeling fitter.
Think about ways that you can build your routine from regular exercise to a goal that inspires you. It gives you a focus, a good reason to keep exercising and a target to work towards, no matter how small that goal is.
Once you start looking for ways to exercise regularly, you can find lots of resources. Walking routes through parks and green spaces, Parkrun 5km runs every Saturday, a choice of drop-in exercise classes. Think about the type of exercise that makes you feel good. Your local leisure centre should offer a range of exercise classes and you can find out how friends and family keep fit for new ideas.
Try an online version
If you don’t feel ready to join a group class, why not try an online class? There has been a huge growth in the number and type of online classes available, with free versions on YouTube and paid for versions via memberships. It’s a great way to get into the rhythm of a class gently and build your confidence, fitness and strength.
Tag an exercise opportunity onto an away-from-home daily event. It makes it easier to plan around if you’re already going out to do the school run, grocery shopping or a weekly appointment. Plan ahead and pack some kit for a swim, run or walk. Or perhaps you could even cycle instead of driving to your destination – that will give you green credentials as well as the feel-good factor!
The benefits – expert tips
There are many benefits to exercise – it can help you control your weight, combat health conditions, improve your mood and boost your energy. We caught up with award-winning personal trainer Jemma Fulbrook of Fulbrook Fitness in Reading for her top tips on getting started on improving your fitness.
“I always say making the start is the hardest part of your fitness journey. If you’ve done nothing for a while, start small. Don’t set the goal too big because you may fail, and then once you’ve failed you may feel like you just can’t achieve any of what you would like to. Make a plan to first get out and be active, maybe reach out to a local gym or fitness classes for some guidance. I always receive messages from people who are so anxious about the starting, especially when attending my classes for the first time, but I try to reassure them that we have all had to start from somewhere and being consistent will help you keep it. It’s a forever lifestyle change that will benefit you in so many ways and you will never regret it.
“Make those initial enquires, find the right person, class, gym or personal trainer that works for you, take a look online – social media has so many options of free workouts and ideas. Set some goals, such as how many times a week you will go for a walk, a jog, a run, complete an online workout, attend so many classes etc. and make yourself accountable by sharing this with a family member or friend. As a personal trainer I always try to help my team stay motivated; this is key to your success. Remember you won’t ever regret a workout! We all have to start our journey somewhere, so get up and get started.”
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise programme, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness, haven’t exercised for a long time, or have chronic health problems.
Jemma Fulbrook, Fulbrook Fitness, Reading, Muddy Stilettos award winner.