The British Heart Foundation By Published:

This year you may want to start being more active. Increasing how often you exercise may have been one of your resolutions and if you haven’t already started, it still isn’t too late! Exercise has many great health benefits, including reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as many others. It is also a great way to boost your mental wellbeing. 

To help you get started we’re sharing some tips from our partner the British Heart Foundation:

Getting started

If you have any health problems or it’s been a while since you’ve done any physical activity, check with your GP before starting a new exercise regime.

For many of us, both time and money are short, but don’t worry – some of the most popular physical activities can be easily worked into your daily routine and require almost no equipment.

For walking, all you need is comfortable footwear, although waterproof clothing will make you more likely to head out even if the sun isn’t shining. For running, a decent pair of trainers is a wise investment. If cycling takes your fancy, check your bike over before you hit the road, or take it to a bike shop for a service.

Read tips on how to get started in running from British Heart Foundation here

Read 10 great reasons to start cycling from the British Heart Foundation here

Set realistic goals

Set realistic, achievable goals for each week, gradually increasing the distance of your activity or the time you spend doing it. Think about when you’re going to exercise and mark it in your diary or calendar to remind you.

Many people who are new to exercise try to do too much, too soon, and become injured or discouraged, so take it easy.

Don’t forget to start your activity slowly and build up gradually and cool down at the end of your routine. And remember – a setback is not a defeat, so if you have a bad week, pick yourself up and keep going.

Have something to aim for

Training for an event is a great way to stick to your exercise goals – especially if you’re raising money for a good cause.

How soon you’ll be ready for your first event depends on your fitness and what you’re working towards. Most beginners can build up to running 5km in eight or nine weeks, and if you have ambitions to run further, training for a half marathon can be completed in three to six months.

Cyclists should allow about 12 to 18 weeks to train for a 50-mile ride.

The NHS has lots of information exercise including a couch to 5k running plan for beginners. 

No matter what your exercise goals are for this year, whether you want to challenge yourself with a half marathon or simply just plan to increase your fitness and activity levels, moving more brings great physical and mental benefits. Incorporating more exercise into your lifestyle and pairing this with a balanced diet is a great way to help you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.