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HealthInfo Canterbury

Starting to be more active

Tīmatatia te korikori tinana

Being active can become an enjoyable part of your everyday life and may be easier than you think.

Tips for getting started safely

Start slowly

Begin with five to 10 minutes and gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.

Warm up and cool down

If you're playing a sport, it's a good idea to warm up first. This prepares your mind, heart, muscles and joints for being active. Cooling down is important as well. It helps your body recover and gradually return to its normal temperature.

Drink plenty of water

Make sure you drink plenty while you're being active, so you stay hydrated. Water is best. Avoid sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice. They're all high in sugar and provide lots of calories.

Listen to your body

You might find your muscles get stiff and sore when you start, but this should go away as you get used to being active. You may also feel a bit out of breath until your fitness improves. If being active causes any pain, chest pain, excessive shortness of breath or blackouts, talk to your GP or physiotherapist.

Tips for getting and staying active

Find an activity you enjoy

You're more likely to stick with an activity you find fun and rewarding. No activity is better than another, so find what works best for you. The Greater Christchurch sport and recreation guide can help you find an activity. It has information about all the sports clubs, parks, classes, groups and programmes in your area.

Sneak more movement into your daily life

overweight couple walking their dog on the beachTry adding more activity into your daily routine by doing things such as walking your dog, taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking your children to school. For more ideas see Getting more activity into your day.

Be kind to yourself

If you're doing anything more than you normally would, that's a step in the right direction.

Make it social

Involve your whānau/family, friends or work colleagues. The more support you have, the more likely you are to enjoy and stick with it.

Track your progress

Keep a record of your activity so you can track your progress. You can use a diary or there are many smartphone apps to help with this such as MyFitnessPal or Pedometer.

If you need help being more active, talk to your GP, practice nurse or other health professional about a Green Prescription, or a referral to a personal trainer or physiotherapist for specific advice and support.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Getting more activity into your day

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2020.

Page reference: 202501

Review key: HIKEA-53695