Staying active

Family walkingStaying active is great for keeping your heart healthy and - along with eating a healthy diet - can help you manage your weight

If you're new to exercise, find out what you can do to start getting active. If you already do regular physical activity, take a look at ways you can increase the challenge and be active every day. For those of you who are somewhere in between, read on.

Set yourself targets for physical activityTop tip: keep a record

A weekly activity diary helps you see how you're doing on a regular basis. You can also look back at how far you've come over time and chart your progress.

The first question to ask yourself is what do you want to achieve? Setting yourself short, medium and long-term goals will give you something to aim for. For example a short term goal might be to jog for 30 minutes, twice a week. A long-term goal could be taking part in a BHF event.

9 ways to get more active

You'll soon feel the benefits when you become more active. You'll feel fitter, have more energy, be more relaxed and have more confidence.

1. Start small

If 150 minutes of physical activity a week seems like a lot, don't worry. You can break it down into ten minute sessions throughout the day and build up from there.

2. Be realistic about your goals

Set yourself realistic goals that are specific and achievable. For example, set a goal to walk 30 minutes every day or learn how to swim.

3. Make exercise part of your day

Plan a time to do some physical activity that fits in with the rest of your day and try keeping an activity diary to help monitor your progress and success. If you miss a day, don't worry - just make sure you start again the next day.

4. Keep moving

Remember, everyday activities count, so look out for opportunities to be active during the day.

For example, use the stairs instead of the escalators, walk to the local shop rather than taking the car and do some stretches when watching TV. Every ten minutes counts! Our exercise calorie counter will help you work out how effective the exercise you're doing is.

Don't forget to have fun

Choose activities that you enjoy to help you achieve your goals and keep you motivated. Why not give ballroom dancing, tennis, trampolining, yoga or pilates a try?


5. You don't have to go it alone

Involve friends and family to make activities more fun, sociable and enjoyable. Go jogging with a friend and support and motivate each other, take the children swimming or join an exercise class.

6. Make sure you get plenty of variety

Make a list of enjoyable activities, such as dancing and yoga, and place them in a jar. Pick a different activity to do each week. By varying your activities, you are less likely to get bored and lose interest.

7. Set reminders where you can see them

Prompt yourself to be more physically active by keeping reminders around the house. Put Post-it notes on the fridge door or by the kettle, place your cycling helmet on your dressing table or put your walking shoes near the door.

8. Keep an eye on your progress

Our online shop sells step pedometers.

You can use a pedometer to count the number of steps you walk each day. It's easy to use. All you need is a good pair of shoes and you are ready to take a step in the right direction, so you can push yourself to go that bit further next time you exercise.

Walking is an ideal activity as it's free and easy to do anywhere. You could walk your children to school and back every day, take the dog for a walk or find a local park and go walking with a friend. And you can track how much energy you're using with our Exercise calories calculator.

9. Reward yourself

Recognise when you achieve your goals. Think of things that you could reward yourself with, like a copy of your favourite magazine, a new pair of trainers or a massage.

When doing regular physical activity becomes a habit, and you're looking for new challenges, why not see how you can take it up a notch?