We’re already over a week into January and those New Year resolutions to stay fit and be healthier are still front of mind. If you’ve made a commitment to getting more active this year, there are lots of ways to keep it varied and find something that suits your fitness level.
If you are a total beginner and you’ve decided that 2020 is the year you are going to start exercising, then congratulations! You’ve already done the hardest part by deciding to get active.
How much exercise do I need and what are the benefits?
It is recommended by the NHS that adults between the ages of 19-64 should be aiming for 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity or 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.
Exercise has a plethora of benefits. As well as the associated physical advantages, such as being stronger, slimmer or fitter, exercise can also lower the risk of developing some chronic health conditions, can boost self-esteem, improve low mood and sleep quality. Read more about the benefits of regular physical activity.
Fit for free!
We know that January can be a little hard on the wallet so if you are looking for free ways to get active there are lots of helpful resources that won’t cost you a penny. If you think that running could work well for you, you could use the couch to 5k programme. This eight-week plan, which builds up slowly with a mixture of walking and short bursts of running, will increase your fitness. You’ll also be supported through your journey with a downloadable podcast and local Facebook communities. If you prefer to run with others, then Parkrun could be great for you. The free 5k run (or 2k for juniors) is a great way to join a supportive community and track your run times.
If walking is more your style than you could join a local walking club like Walking for Health or use TFL’s website to access walking maps between London tube station stops. The handy maps even advise how many steps you’ll be doing! There are recommended walks that take in London landmarks and, to increase mindfulness, there are also free audio guided walks and meditations downloadable from Headspace.
If you aren’t quite ready to get active outside of your home, are limited on free time or have care commitments, there are lots of great ways you can get active in your own home. Things like gardening, cleaning and increasing the frequency of trips up and down your stairs can all help to improve your fitness. If you want some inspiration, This Girl Can has lots of ideas that will help you get active.
Get active with others:
Why exercise in a group?
Worried that exercising on your own will mean you can make excuses to not keep up your new fitness goals? Why not get active with others. Research suggests there are even more benefits of getting active in a group.
It’s a great way to catch up with friends (or indeed meet new ones) whilst doing something that improves your health. With group exercise expected to replace traditional social meet ups in 2020, exercising with friends will mean you are on bang on trend!
Have you ever wanted to try a class or piece of gym equipment but have been too intimidated to give it a go? There’s strength in numbers and if you have someone who’s willing to try it with you, it’ll make it a far more enjoyable prospect (or at least you’ll have someone to laugh off any mistakes with!). Oh, and while we are on the topic of smiling, exercise boosts endorphins so you’ll likely leave your class feeling far better.
Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is getting motivated to do it. If you workout with others, it is less likely you’ll miss a session as you’ll be more accountable for your attendance.
What classes are best for me and where can I find them?
If you’d like to start a group exercise class and aren’t sure which works best for you, you can use our guide to pinpoint what could work for you.
You can find local classes with classfinder and filter by style, ability level and extra requirements.