Starting to exercise might not seem easy. It’s not the exercise that’s hard, it’s often the thought of it that puts us off.
For many of us the term ‘exercise’ makes us think of gyms and being too hot and sweaty. We start to tell ourselves we can’t afford a gym or we don’t have time when actually we daren’t go because we think we’ll be the only overweight or unfit person there and we don’t really know what to expect.
But it doesn’t have to be like that, getting fit doesn’t have to involve gyms at all, ever. There are lots of ways to get active that will benefit your health without costing a penny, and without you having to face any kind of embarrassment. And it isn’t all about aerobic exercise, exercise to help you build up muscle and improve your flexibility is also important.
Walking is the perfect form of exercise to start with. It’s free, you can do it anywhere, and you can build up from a short walk to whatever length you like. You don’t need to buy any special equipment, you can do it on your own or with friends, and you can wear what you like. As long as you walk at a brisk pace, so that you warm up slightly, your health will benefit.
If you have not done any exercise for a long time, start slowly and set yourself goals. One way is to find a walk of say, 1 mile in your local area (check out www.walk4life.info, there are lots of walks on there). Start by seeing how far you can walk, don’t worry if you can only do 5 or 10 minutes, keep going with small daily increases until you can walk the full mile. You can set yourself targets, for example “Tomorrow I’m going to walk to that corner, next week I’ll walk all the way to the shops.” Once you’ve achieved your mile pick a slightly longer walk and start again. You might be surprised how far you can walk.