Staying active

Family walking in park

Physical activity can help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory disease. It can also help you control your weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve your mental health – helping you to look and feel great.

Understanding physical activity

This short leaflet explains why being active is so important for your heart health. It tells you what type of activity you need to do to help your heart, and includes tips for building physical activity into your everyday life.


9 ways to get more active

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. Why not try our 10 minute workout? You can do it from the comfort of your own living room.

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. A long-term goal could be taking part in a BHF event.

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 calculator will help you work out how effective the exercise you're doing is.

Get more tips and tools for staying active from our magazine, Heart Matters.

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 

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 calorie 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?

Want to know more?

Order or download our Understanding physical activity leaflet to help you get moving.