Helpful Tips For Getting You Active
Some helpful tips to get started
- The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth. Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little, but you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.
- Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
- Make an activity planner so you can put the times and days you will do each activity.
- Set short-term and long-term goals. Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable. Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get on and off the bus/train two stops away from my usual stop”.
- Build up gradually. If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
- Choose activities that are right for you. Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as, walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, swimming, etc
- Plan physical activity with others. This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
- Join a Heart Foundation walking group. These walking groups are an enjoyable way to get active and provide an opportunity to socialise and meet new people.
- Sign up to a Heart Foundation Heartmoves program. Heartmoves is a great way to start getting active in a friendly environment. The program is run by trained leaders who will show you how to perform enjoyable exercises which don’t strain your body.
- Do not give up before you start to see the benefits. Be patient and keep at it.
- HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a good opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.
Finding time to get active
Everyone leads busy lives nowadays and it can seem hard to find time for physical activity. Try to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
- If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
- Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
- Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil, and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
- Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate activity.
- Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early). If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing. Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.
Some helpful tips to keep you going:
- Buy yourself a pedometer – a gadget which when worn on your hip counts how many steps you take. Use this to motivate you to keep increasing your daily steps. 10,000 steps is a web site dedicated to motivating people to build up to 10,000 steps a day.
- Walk or cycle instead of using the car for short trips.
- If you have to drive, park further away from your destination or get off the bus, train or tram one stop early.
- Catch up with friends by walking together rather than meeting for coffee or a meal.
- Visit your local library or community centre and check for local community activities.
- Join a gym with a friend, and use the time to catch up and keep active. Find yourself a registered gym, fitness centre, health club or personal training studio through national Health and Fitness Industry Association, Fitness Australia.
- Play actively with your children – kick a footy around, skip, jump on the trampoline.
- Go on a family bike ride.
- Take your dog (or the neighbour’s dog) for a walk.
- If possible, walk to school with your children or park further from the school and walk part of the way.
- Buy a fitness DVD and get the whole family to join in – a great way to have a laugh and be active.
- Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in the car or at work and you will always be ready for a walk or run.
- Take the stairs rather than the lift, or walk rather than rest on escalators.
- Go for a short walk during your lunch break.
- Start a walking group with work colleagues or friends and stick to a routine of certain days or times to go out together.
- If you work in an office, try to avoid long periods of sitting and get up as frequently as you can.
- Walk the long way to the bathroom and kitchen/canteen.
- Park the car further away from work or get on and off the bus/tram/train at a stop that is further away.
Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.
For best results in achieving a healthier lifestyle and reducing your risk of developing a chronic disease combine physical activity with healthy eating. Go to What should I be eating? for some practical tips.