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Getting into the habit of gentle exercise

Posted on 16th May 2020

If you were finding exercise difficult to do before lockdown then chances are you will have put it to the side on your ‘maybe later’ list.

This is a gentle reminder that finding ways to move more during the day can help our mental health as well as improve physical health and can make it easier to sleep at night.

How do you bridge that gap from knowing some activity would be good, to actually moving more?

It’s about forming a habit.

You don’t worry about how you are going to find the time or motivation to brush your teeth, as it is a routine that you do almost without thinking.

So, some ideas about forming an exercise habit.

Plan – Be realistic about what you can manage, considering any medical conditions. You may want to do some gentle stretches and strengthening exercises, or you may want a routine to get you heart rate up. There are lots of good exercise guides online. You could start by checking out the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/

Sport England also have lots of links to online exercise sites including home workouts without gym equipment. https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

You may want to go out for a walk you could use a phone app to count your steps or speed

Prepare – Make a decision about the activity that will suit you. It is better to start small and build up than to over do it and then not want to continue.

Set a regular time, first thing in the morning can work well

Get your comfortable clothes and trainers ready the night before.

Don’t forget music can really help to boost your mood and keep you going.

Share – See if you can encourage someone else to join in and do the same routine at the same time (if not in the same place!). Make a note each day of your activity and how it felt, this will help you stick to it. It will also help you to look back and see how much you have achieved.

Don’t forget to give your self credit for making a start, that can be the hardest part.