If you do little or
no physical activity at the moment it would be a good idea to start slowly. This should ensure that you don’t get too
tired or discouraged with exercise, which may lead you to quit before you’ve experienced any of the benefits. Choose
an activity that you enjoy and stick with it – walking is a good idea to start with as you can do it any time and anywhere.
You can gradually add more and varied activities into your routine.
Start with 15 minutes
every other day and gradually increase the amount of time and number of days. Thirty minutes five or six days a week is ideal,
but if you are willing to do only 20 minutes four days a week, it's better than nothing at all! Aim to be active as often
as you can.
of exercise -- how hard you do it -- is important. If your activity does not make your breath or heart rate increase
you are not exercising strenuously enough and you will not experience most of the physical benefits of exercise, nor
will you experience maximum psychological benefits. Aim to be ‘breathless not speechless’ - you should still be able to talk while exercising. If your exercise is too strenuous, you risk injury or
it will be so uncomfortable that you may get discouraged and quit.
Top tips for active living
- Find an activity you enjoy and make it fun so you can look forward to doing it.
- Set yourself weekly or monthly goals and targets (i.e. increasing the distance you swim by 2
lengths extra per week) so you've always got something to aim for and can see how far you've progressed.
- Get together with an exercise partner or group so you can motivate each other.
- Try to keep adding new things to your routine to keep yourself interested.
- Don't overlook the simple things - walk home rather than getting a bus or take the stairs rather
than the lift.
- Plan your exercise routine so that it fits into your everyday life.
- Be realistic and don't expect too much too soon.
- Stick with it and don't give up!
Use this NHS Direct interactive tool to find out how many calories
you would burn for different activities.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise there is. It is free, you can do it anywhere and at any time, and it doesn’t
require any expensive equipment or specialised training.
30 minutes of brisk walking on 5 or 6 days of the week will improve your fitness and wellbeing. That might seem a lot
at first but walking can be incorporated into your everyday life more easily than any other activity.
You can walk around your neighbourhood, in your local park or in one of the beautiful country parks around the county.
Each of the seven country parks around Northamptonshire offer walks on marked routes and hard surfaced trails through woodland
and meadow or by lakes, rivers and reservoirs. The parks also offer opportunities for other activities such as cycling, ball
games, fishing and orienteering. All of the country parks are also on the lookout for conservation volunteers, which allow
you to exercise and feel good about doing your bit for the environment.
If you are uncertain about walking on your own or don’t know where to go you could walk with a group lead by
an experienced group leader. These ‘Health Walks’ are organised by independent walking clubs, local councils,
conservation groups and some country parks.
For more information on country parks contact Countryside Services on 01604 237227 or click on the link below.
Cycling is great exercise,
fun and affordable, and is good for the environment as well. Build exercise into your daily routine by riding your bike to
work a few times a week. If you do not want to cycle on the road there are cycling tracks across the county and at some of
the country parks you can even hire a bike so you can have a go at cycling before you commit to buying a bike yourself.
Swimming is a great
form of exercise as it works out most of the major muscle groups so your whole body gets a workout. It is also a good choice
for less mobile people because the water supports your weight and you don’t put pressure on your joints. As well as
being good exercise, many people find swimming very therapeutic both physically and mentally.
For more information about swimming
at your local leisure centre contact your local council on the telephone numbers or on the websites listed in at the
end of this page. Many private health and fitness clubs have swimming pools –
look in your local press for details of these.
Working out using the
gym equipment, getting involved in studio classes such as aerobics and weight training all offer the opportunity to work on
your overall fitness under the watchful eye of a qualified fitness instructor. Anyone, no matter what there current level
of fitness is, can benefit from a fitness programme written and supervised by a trained instructor. Find out more information
using the contacts below.
There are many different sporting activities
that are available so you may well find one that you enjoy or and interested in. As well as being good exercise, taking part
in a sporting activity by joining a group or club will give you friendship, challenges and team work. Contact Northamptonshire Sport on 01604 237857 or follow the link below.
The ancient martial art
of tai-chi emphasises the connection between the mind and the body. Tai-chi is a great stress reliever and you can use it
to help you to relax. It also increases the your muscle strength and flexibility and is good for improving balance and posture.
Yoga can be practised by anyone
at any age. It develops flexibility and incorporates techniques to relieve stress and bring the mind and body into harmony.
Many people learn and practice yoga by attending classes but there are many books and videos available that will help you
learn the basic of yoga.
Details of tai-chi and yoga classes in your area can be found by contacting the Adult Learning Hotline on 01604 237418
or click on the link below. The adult education service also
offers group classes in other activities such as badminton, golf, keep fit and pilates.
If you are suffering
from anxiety or depression and currently lead a sedentary lifestyle you can ask your doctor or nurse about the exercise referral
scheme. Your doctor or nurse can write you a ‘prescription’ that enables you to use the facilities of one of the
three council owned gyms around Northampton for free for a certain amount of time. A qualified trainer will provide you with
an individual programme of activity tailored to your needs.
For more information about exercise and activities in your area
contact your local council Sports Development
Search for your nearest sports facilities
Information about walking and 'green' exercise
Search for sports clubs in your area
Outdoor activities and things to do in Northamptonshire