The non-exerciser's guide to exercise

No matter how unfamiliar you are with physical activity we’ll get you moving. Here’s how to go from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’
Published September 25, 2019

The non-exerciser's guide to exercise


The activity that’s best for you is the one you’ll actually do. After all, you know exercise is good for you – regular activity increases endurance, builds strong muscles and bones, improves sleep, lowers stress, and more – but it takes time, and sometimes it’s not as pleasant as a nap on the sofa. So, like a lot of things, you’re more likely to do it if you actually enjoy it. To make exercise happen, first set yourself a time goal, then check these common complaints and their solutions to help you decide what you’d actually like to do.


You think: "It's hard!"

Start easy. Take up walking and make it fun by recruiting a friend or listening to your favourite music while you pound the pavement. And try to increase your incidental activity, so that you’re moving more throughout the day – every bit counts!
Act like a kid. From hula-hooping to dancing or trampolining, if it’s fun, it won’t feel like work.
Tune in. Music has proven feel-good effects that can help make working out seem easier.


You think: “I don’t like sweating."

Choose ‘drier’ exercise options. Think yoga, weightlifting or Pilates. Or try swimming – you won’t even notice you’re sweating!
Suck it up. Wear an absorbent headband, and dress in moisture-wicking fabrics. They’ll keep you comfy throughout your workout, so that you feel less sweaty.
Rethink it. Be proud of your sweat – you’ve earned it! Sweat can be an indication that you’re exerting yourself enough to burn.


You think: “I hate gyms."

Work out at home. Use an exercise DVD or find a WW workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home, by clicking on the FIT tab.
Explore the great outdoors. Research says exercising when you’re surrounded by nature can reduce perceived exertion, meaning you’ll work harder without noticing. A walk or run in the park or a weekend hike can burn up energy and give you a dose of vitamin D.


You think: "It’s really boring.”

Don’t go it alone. Find a workout pal, join a local sports team, or try a noncompetitive hiking or biking group.
Mix it up. Walk one day, do a dance class another, and have a hit of tennis, the next. Taking part in a variety of different activities makes exercise feel like a natural part of your day, rather than a chore.
Go for the win. Running to nowhere on a treadmill? Meh. But if you’ve got a goal in mind, like competing in a 5km run or meeting a group challenge, it can make the effort seem more ‘worth it’.


You think: “I’m too busy."

Treat it like a meeting. Make your workout seem like a can’t-miss appointment, by scheduling it in your diary.
Break it up. Do 10 minutes a couple of times a day: a brisk walk before work and at lunchtime would do it.
HIIT it. Alternating intervals of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise can make you fitter in less time. A high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) session can be done in as little as 4 minutes. Really!