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Healthy Living Exercise Guide

Exercise Guide - British Heart Foundation Online Shop

Getting Active

Being physically active doesn’t have to mean long gym sessions or strenuous work-out regimes. You could go swimming, take up or play a sport, but physical activity also includes everyday things like walking, gardening and climbing stairs.

Recent statistics suggest that around seven out of ten adults don’t do enough physical activity and this can increase their risk of heart disease.

It’s never too late to start

Everyone can benefit from getting physical – whatever your age, size or physical condition. Just remember that you are never too old or too unfit to start doing something. If you have not exercised for a long time and you have a chronic condition see your  GP or practice nurse for advice before you start.

The good news is that inactive people that start to do moderate physical activity feel the biggest health benefits.

Top tips to help you stay active

Being active is great for keeping your heart healthy and, along with eating a healthy diet, can help you to manage your weight. And it’s not just good for your heart – physical activity also helps to make you look and feel great.

Adults should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on five days or more a week. If you’re struggling to stay motivated, try these top tips to stay active:

1. Small changes add up

If 30 minutes of physical activity all at once seems like a lot to start with, try doing several short bouts of activity throughout the day such as 3 x 10 minutes.

2. Keep it real

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

3. Keep on your toes!

Remember, everyday activities count so look 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 when watching TV get up in between programmes or advert breaks and do some stretches. Every little counts!

4. Have fun

Choose activities that you enjoy to help you achieve your goals and keep you motivated. Try activities like ballroom dancing, tennis, trampolining or badminton.

5. Get a buddy

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. Reward yourself

Recognise when you achieve your activity 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.

Heart Matters

Our free service offers a unique package of support and information for people looking to improve their heart health.

As a member, you'll benefit from:

  • a free online lifestyle check with tips and personalised support on how to have a healthy lifestyle
  • regular issues of heart matters magazine delivered to your door and access to read the latest issue online
  • a dedicated HelpLine staffed by cardiac nurses and heart health advisers
  • access to a members' area with online tools like our great recipe finder.