10 top tips to help you stay happy when you’re active:
1. Group exercise is a great way to get started and stay motivated. It can be great for morale and building close connections with others, making you feel happy and making exercise an integral part of the socialising.
2. Any exercise is better than none, but why not try to make it a habit? Shorter bursts of activity a few times a week are better than doing it all in one go, for example, five lots of 15-minute activities makes it more of a habit than one burst of an hour.
3. Why not start with a stroll, building up activity to be regular and more vigorous.
4. You don’t have to get out of breath; as a rough guide, you should still be able to hold a conversation, but not sing a line of a song!
5. If you’re tired, exercise can give you energy – it’s possible to push through the tiredness barrier if you find activities that aren’t too physically or mentally demanding for you and even more so when you enjoy what you’re doing.
6. There’s no ‘best’ time of the day to be active; it’s whatever fits into your lifestyle, but try not to do too much before bedtime, since raising your body temperature affects sleep, as do some of the hormones produced, such as adrenaline and the faster heart rate you may experience after exercise.
7. Fitness trackers can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals but use them wisely. If you become dissatisfied because your tracker tells you that your sleep was too light or you haven’t done as many steps as you’d hoped, maybe take some time away from using it. You’re doing your best, so having your tech bring you down won’t be helpful for making you feel good.
8. Try exercising in daylight, especially in winter. Daylight, whether it’s sunny or not, helps give you the extra energy you need to be active, helps with sleep as it contributes to establishing our natural circadian pattern, and can also boost your vitamin D intake.
9. Don’t beat yourself up! If you don’t make it out for a walk or to the gym, rather than worry about it, make a plan to go another time.
10. Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment or special sportswear. Being physically active can be as simple as following a 20-minute yoga video at home and there are exercises you can do at home that include using tins of food as weights and using your stairs to help you stretch.
If you’re thinking about becoming more active, you'll find plenty of information and inspiration in our exercise and fitness centre.. Or why not try 30 minutes of brisk walking, five times a week for four weeks and see the impact it has - from improving your blood flow, to strengthening your muscles, as well as gaining a new perspective to help you become more resilient.
- Movement is medicine - NHS
- Oxytocin – Harvard Health Publishing
- Physical activity guidelines - NHS