Being physically active is beneficial for both your physical and your mental health and wellbeing. It can help you deal with anxiety and stress and getting outdoors, if you can, is really important. With many of us spending more than usual time indoors over recent months, getting back to an active routine can perhaps be challenging. Here are some tips to get you going.
Start small. If you happen to be beginning a fitness journey then you need to take things one step at a time. Start with any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer, such as a brisk walk, riding a bike, dancing indoors or exercising at home
Be consistent. Keep at it, even if there are some tough days, and you will likely soon see results.
Find ways to fit activity into your day, or to encourage yourself to get moving, like walking the short journeys that you sometimes drive, an indoor stretch, or taking a quick walk on your lunch break from work, weather permitting.
Partner up. Getting a friend or family member involved will keep you motivated.
Don’t overdo it – take it slowly, or you will get disheartened.
The important thing is that no matter what your age or circumstance it’s important to keep moving - indoors or outdoors - to help you enjoy better health.
The National Physical Activity guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity five days a week for adults, and 60 minutes for kids, but short bouts of physical activity (even 10 minutes at a time) can quickly add up.
Many local and sports clubs run social teams for different age groups. This way you get to play your favourite sport no matter what your fitness or skill level, and it’s a great way to get out to meet like-minded people, while being more active.
For more tips on creating and sticking to a new fitness habit check out our Let's Get Set
Let's Get Back
Healthy Ireland and Sport Ireland have come together to launch ‘Let’s Get Back’, a national awareness campaign encouraging the Irish public to get back involved in the sport and exercise that they love.
Sport Ireland has been working closely with National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships, volunteers and local clubs to support you all the way so that you can get back to the sport you love.
Find out what activites are in your local area here
No matter how old you are, how fit you are, or how busy you are, walking works. The most important thing is to aim for a pace that slightly raises your heartbeat and makes you breathe a little faster and feel a little warmer. Once you can still talk, you're doing well!
More and more people are cycling every day, either as part of their commute to work or school or as exercise. Cycling Ireland
has lots of information for cyclists of all ages and abilities
A good place to start is Bike for Life - a 'sofa to saddle' programme which gives people the skills and knowledge to enjoy cycling and cycle safely from scratch
If you had always wanted to start running, there are lots of Couch to 5K programmes online or check out your Local Sports Partnership
Many parkruns have restarted at various locations around the country. parkruns are free, weekly, timed, 5k events. You can walk, run or jog the course, it’s up to you. These are held on Saturday mornings. For more information go to parkrun.ie
Keeping kids active
Kids need to be active every day. All activity, no matter how short, counts. Keeping kids active helps them to build strong muscles, healthy bones, agility and co-ordination, while improving self-esteem, mood, energy and sleep patterns.
kids should play and be active at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day
if you have a garden, playing games outside as a family is a great way to get some fresh air and physical activity in without even thinking. There are some great ideas at START
to get you started
Being active as a family is really important. Why not try some family walks, or a weekend cycle? Parkrun also have a junior version, just for kids, on Sunday mornings. You can find the list of locations here
Sometimes all you need is a wall and a hurley/football/tennis racket and a ball
Check out your local sports clubs to see their junior options.
Why not start walking/cycling to school?
Babies and toddlers need to be physically active too. Chasing games and music and action songs are a great way to encourage them to be physically active or try also, light activities, such as building blocks or playing on the floor
Activity for older people
As you get older it is really important to stay active. Being active can help your body to stay strong and supple, improve balance and coordination aiding in falls prevention, cheers you up and boosts your energy.
Just 30 minutes activity a day indoors or outdoors could have a huge impact on your health.
Here are some tips to get you going:
light housework, gardening or walking around your farm are all good ways to keep active while staying safe
Sport Ireland have developed a series of exercise videos specifically for older adults. You can find them here
have some great exercise videos on their YouTube page
the HSE also have some more tips and info on indoor exercises for older people here
Age and Opportunity have a Fitline
that you can call for tips and advice on getting active
Age and Opportunity are livestreaming their Movement Minutes exercise videos on Facebook
on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am
When exercising outside between April and September it is really important to protect your skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland and the numbers are rising rapidly, however most skin cancers can be prevented. Most people living in Ireland have fair skin, the type which burns easily and tans poorly, so are at high risk of UV damage and skin cancer.
You till find more information on the Healthy Ireland SunSmart code and protecting your skin here