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Getting Started: Adding More Physical Activity to Your Life
Being more physically active can help you feel better, deal with stress more easily, and handle day-to-day activities more comfortably. Here are some things to do before you get started:
- Think about what types of activities you enjoy or you would like to try.
- Find a time and location when activity is fun for you. Some people like to ride their bike to and from work or take a yoga class during their lunch break. Others enjoy walking in their neighbourhood after dinner.
- Try activities with friends or family members. They can motivate you to get started and encourage you to continue.
- Call 8-1-1 and fill out a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire for Everyone (PAR-Q+) with one of our qualified exercise professionals to see if you should check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program. Most people under 60 don’t need a medical exam before starting a gradual program. In fact, sometimes the medical exam can be an excuse for not getting active. The reality is that being inactive is a bigger health risk than being active!
- Check with your health care provider to see what types and amounts of activities are best for you if you’re an older adult, have a health condition, or aren’t used to being very active.
- Set realistic goals. Gradually increase the length of time you spend being active and your level of effort. Break up your activity into smaller amounts of time (for instance, walk for three 10-minute sessions per day instead of one 30-minute session).
- Monitor your successes by using a logbook, calendar, or diary. Check out our Physical Activity Log or Walking Log.
- Make sure you have comfortable shoes and proper equipment. Get tips on How to Choose Safe Equipment.
- Get support and resources from your recreation centre, health care provider, exercise professional, public health unit, or library.
- Build activity into your daily life. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to become more physically active (for instance, go for a walk after dinner instead of watching TV). Make sure you set aside time in your day or week for activity.
- Identify the things that stand in the way of becoming more active and find ways to overcome them. Learn about Overcoming Barriers: Adding More Physical Activity to your Life.
Last Reviewed: March 2017
© 2017 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.