We all read and hear so much about the importance of exercise and fitness, but the reality of working exercise into your week can be much easier said than done!
The NHS recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week to maintain a good level physical fitness, plus it’s great for your mental health and wellbeing too.
Regular exercise helps weight loss, increases muscle strength and flexibility and it can help reduce the risk of long-term health conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
It’s not just good for you physically. Exercise is used to boost your self-esteem, mood, quality of sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, and it can even boost your energy levels.
And, great news for anyone who hasn’t done any exercise for some time. Your recommended 150 minutes per week can include all levels of movement, from stretching and short walks to vigorous work outs and marathon training. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro and stick to your exercise plan weekly, or if you’re just starting out, there are loads of simple, free and fun exercises to get you motivated.
It’s free and easy, all you need is a comfy pair of shoes and you can head out of your front door! If you haven’t exercised for a while, take it slow and try 5-10 minutes to start with. If you have health conditions or other concerns, speak to your GP before making any changes to your weekly routine.
Once up to a comfy level of fitness, you can step it up with slow jogging. There are lots of useful running programmes, such as the Coach to 5K plan, which has been developed to take complete beginners, up to 5k jogging in just 9 weeks. Just remember to do your stretches and if you have any difficulties with joint pain or breathing, speak to your GP before you continue your chosen plan.
Get involved with a running event and raise money for charity whilst you get fit! There are lots of websites that list walking and running events around the UK and you can also check out your preferred charity website to see what events you can get involved with for them.
This can be anything from walking up the stairs to lifting weights. Strength exercise build muscles and endurance. Working in 2 sessions of strength building a week is great to introduce into your routine and just a few minutes should help you see an improvement in your physical strength within weeks.
From yoga and pilates, to simple head rotations and neck stretches, all helps to improve your flexibility and movement. There are lots of online videos, coaches on social media and free advice on the internet on how to get started or step up your flexibility and you can even start from the comfort of your own living room.
Getting out on your bike is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. It’s a fun activity that your family or friends can get involved with too. So why not build a group bike ride into your weekly routine (Great British weather permitting of course!)
Do you have a passion for Strictly or a love of dancing from your childhood? Dancing is a great way to get in some exercise and boost your mood. With loads of local dance classes available around the UK, to sticking on your favourite song and dancing round your lounge, get moving with some dance in your life!
Does the great outdoors motivate you to get your walking boots on and explore the countryside? We’re spoilt for choice in the UK for beautiful areas to walk and enjoy some stunning views, whilst we get/stay fit. If you’re a city liver or lover, why not explore your hometown and discover what’s on your doorstep? You might find some wonderful things locally that you never knew existed!
Whatever your level of fitness, there are loads of ways to get active and improve your physical and mental health. With lots of completely free options and being able to do simple exercises and stretches from home, you can get started right now and work some activities into your weekly routine.
You should feel the benefits very quickly, with simple stretches and muscle building exercises to get you started. And if you have any physical concerns on exercising, speak to your GP before you get started, they can help you plan out what’s going to be right for your level of fitness and ability.
So get your comfy clothes on and get moving today!