Get active, feel good!
Did you know that getting active can help to reduce anxiety and stress, combat low mood and boost self-esteem? It can help you feel good on the inside and out.
We know that starting something new can be challenging. On this page, you'll find handy tips, resources and inspirational stories to help you get active.
Ideas for how to get active
There are lots of different types of exercise and physical activity. The most important thing to consider is finding something you enjoy. Take a look at some of the great resources below to help you get started.
Aim for balance and be mindful of the exercise you do. Try to take rest days to allow time for your body and mind to recover.
- Couch to 5k: This is a 9-week running programme designed for complete beginners by the NHS.
- Gym-free workouts: Going to the gym isn't for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to get active instead. The NHS have created routines that you can do anywhere, anytime. They include exercises you do sitting down, and strength, balance and flexibility sessions.
- Everybody Moves: Everybody Moves have created accessible home workouts, ideal for wheelchair users who are just getting started.
- Fitness Blender: Here you can find more than 500 free workout videos. And you can choose the level of difficulty.
- Yoga with Adriene: Yoga instructor Adriene has more than 500 free YouTube videos, for complete beginners to more advanced yogis.
- Join the Movement: This campaign has tips, advice and guidance on how to keep active in and around your home.
- ASICS Movement for mind: This is an 8-week podcast programme of 30 minute walking or running sessions, twice a week.
- NHS 10 minute workouts: Only got a few minutes? The 10-minute workouts are perfect if you've only got a bit of spare time.
- 10today: Tune in to 10 minutes of activity via the radio, online videos and on social media.
- British Heart Foundation 10 minute workout: Work up a living-room sweat in 10 minutes with the British Heart Foundation. You only need a small space and you don't need fancy gym gear to take part.
- Active 10: A brisk daily walk is a great excuse to get outside and improve your health. The Active 10 app is a great way to help you monitor and increase your brisk walking levels over time.
- Youth Sport Trust: Explore a range of resources with fun challenges and activities that can be adapted to the space you have.
- Disney dance alongs: This Girl Can partnered with Disney to offer dance workouts. You can learn their moves or put your own spin on their routines.
- Change4Life indoor activities: These are games inspired by your favourite Disney characters.
- A-Z activity guide: Looking to get active at home or in your garden but not sure where to start? This A-Z activity guide includes lots of activities. For most, you don't need any equipment.
- Get active bingo: Challenge yourself and tick off your achievements with our bingo sheet. It's designed to help you move more around your home.
- Runners bingo: If you enjoy running, take a look at our runners bingo sheet. See if you can get a line or a full house!
- Mindful walking: It can be good to stop and take notice of what's going on around you. A mindful walk is a great way to do that. Use this resource to complete your own.
- Mindfulness and yoga: Yoga encourages us to stop and take notice of how our mind and body are feeling. This activity sheet will help you plan for your own yoga practice, which you can complete at home or with a group of friends.
- Yoga at home: Our friends at Richmond Borough Mind have developed a yoga activity sheet to guide you through a few of their favourite movements.
Getting active is personal. We all have different preferences, tolerances, and fitness levels. Some of us find short sessions suit us best. Others like being active for longer.
Try to mix things up by taking part in fun challenges individually, in a group, or even online. Why not try one of the following:
- Set yourself a challenge over a period of time. For example, you could walk, dance around the kitchen, or take part in yoga a few times a week. Just make sure you build in rest days!
- Involve other people, by doing your activities together over a video call or in a virtual event.
See if you can add your own twist to something you already do. Or you could create something completely new!
Developing a healthy relationship with physical activity means building rest into your routine. This allows your body and mind to recover.
Check out these resources on how to develop a healthy relationship with exercise:
- Signs your relationship with physical activity is becoming unhealthy
- What to do when your relationship with physical activity becomes unhealthy
- You can talk to people and share your experiences with physical activity on our online community. Visit Side by Side and search for #physicalactivity or #exerciseproblems
- Read Catherine's blog, Exercise became the sole purpose of my day
- Read Tom's blog, I was running away from my problems
There are lots of free or low cost activities you can try in your local community. From walking to social football, find out what activities you have close to you:
Our guide to getting active
Our information guide is full of details about how being active can be good for your mental health. The guide explores lots of handy tips to help you get started. You can also discover which type of exercise may be best for you, and how to overcome the barriers that may stop you from taking part.
Access mental health services with Hub of Hope
Hub of Hope is a directory of mental health support and services across the UK. It's available as a website, and an app.
You can search by location or topics, like physical activity.
We Are Undefeatable
In the We Are Undefeatable campaign, 15 health and social care charities have joined forces to inspire people with long-term health conditions to be active.
We know that having a mental health problem can be physically draining. But physical activity, however big or small, may help improve your mood.
Run and Talk
Watch Sujan's story about how running helped manage her anxiety and panic attacks.
We work with England Athletics to support Run and Talk events across England. If you'd like see if jogging is right for you, find a run near you on their site.
Track your progress
Our free Get Set to Go plan can help you think about:
- What you'd like to achieve from being active
- The goals you want to set yourself
- What might stop you from reaching your goals
- How to overcome any barriers
- How to track your progress and reflect on your journey so far
- How to identify the support you need to stay well
Give us your feedback
Do you use a website, app or other resource that you would recommend to help others be active? If so, contact us at [email protected] with details including how it has helped you and we could add it to this page.