Getting started with exercise

So that you can really feel the benefits of getting more exercise into your day, physiotherapists recommend that adults exercise for 30 minutes a day at moderate intensity, five times a week.

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‘Moderate intensity’ means that both your heart and breathing rates should increase, and you might break a sweat, but you should still be able to hold a conversation.

Depending on your age and mobility, moderate intensity exercise can range from vacuuming and bowling, to walking, digging in the garden and jogging.

Before you start

Set goals

Start exercising gradually and give yourself goals to build up to. Set realistic targets and you’ll soon see the positive effects of exercise, without overdoing it.

Top tip if you're short on time

For a 30 minute session of exercise each day, break it up into smaller chunks. Aim to be active in three or four 10 minute bouts throughout the day, if this suits you better.

Where to start

If you’re generally healthy, you’re already in a great position to do more daily exercise

If you’re recovering from illness or injury, or have restricted movement, take it easier – physiotherapists recommend aiming for 10 minutes each day to start with. 

If you have any of the following conditions, here is some physiotherapy advice:

  • Back pain – avoid standing or sitting still for long periods of time
  • Stiff/sore knees – avoid hills as they can place extra strain on your knees
  • Recent injury – low impact exercises like gentle walking, swimming or cycling, are best.

The right kit

The equipment you use is important to make sure you’re comfortable while you exercise, and can help you avoid injury, so kit yourself out with appropriate shoes and clothing.

Positive attitude

It will help you reach your goals if you’re in the right frame of mind for physical activity. Being prepared at the outset will help you stick with it.