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Physical Activity

Being physically active gives us more energy and confidence and helps us cope with stress. Exercise might not be our highest priority day-to-day but a small increase in the amount of exercise we do makes a big difference.

Exercise isn’t just going to the gym or running a marathon, it’s moving your body and being active.

Check out these simple strategies to help you get moving.

Fact: Changing your behavior, even in a small way, can have a big impact on your health.

Action: Do something outside your comfort zone.


  • Looking at what your friends, family, colleagues or neighbours do to keep active? Could you give it a go too? You might find you really enjoy something you’d never have considered.
  • Volunteering to coach a team or take someone ‘under your wing’, teach them what you know and get moving at the same time. We all have knowledge and skills we can offer others.

Fact: Adding competitive elements to a task can increase the likelihood you’ll follow through.

Action: Challenge yourself and your mates to get active.


  • Aiming to beat your personal best: try walking one more block, shaving 30 seconds off your 5km run or going to the gym an extra hour a week.
  • Challenging your family or friends to see who can reach their goals the quickest, or stick it out the longest – winner chooses the next challenge!

Fact: Doing things you enjoy is great for your mental health.

Action: Do something you loved as a kid, or combine exercise with other things you like to do.


  • Downloading some of your favourite music, interesting podcasts or audio books to listen to while you exercise.
  • Thinking about activities you loved when you were younger. Get involved in a sport or activity you haven’t done for a while, you might find you’ve maintained more than you think.

Fact: Many people struggle to find the motivation to exercise.

Action: Use someone else as an incentive.


  • Setting a regular time to meet up with someone and do something active, you’ll be more likely to get up and go because you know they’re expecting you.
  • Asking someone to join you; invite a friend, coworker or family member for a round of golf, game of tennis or a swim.
  • Joining a team or group in your local area. There are lots of options, you could play a sport, join a walking or running group or go to a regular gym class. If you can’t find anything locally that appeals to you, could you get a couple of people together and start your own group? Try putting it out there on Facebook to recruit members.

Fact: Lack of time can be a barrier to keeping physically active, but you don’t have to do it all in one go.

Action: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Do small amounts of exercise throughout the day; use any opportunity to move your body.


  • Using the time you have – while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, toast to pop, microwave to ting or food to cook, do sets of 10 squats, push-ups, lunges or sit-ups, or do a plank or wall-sit. Try here for activities and routines for all activity levels. You don’t need any equipment.
  • Going for a walk while talking on the phone at work, or to family and friends.
  • Use the ads on TV (usually 30 sec) to time to do some quick exercises. Try holding a plank, doing squats or simply commit to standing up and move around every 20 minutes.
  • Not making things too easy for yourself – park your car further from your destination and make yourself walk the rest of the way, move the garbage bins further up the driveway, use the push mower for the house yard instead of the ride on, get involved in physical games with your kids or pets, put your TV remote on the other side of the room so you need to get up to change the channel.

How can I find the time to exercise?
We find ways to fit the important things into our lives, whether it is making time to call your family or moving things around to be home when the plumber comes by. It can be useful to think about how we spend our time on a day to day basis; is there a time that could be better spent on exercise? For example, instead of looking at your phone for five minutes in the morning, could you use that time to do some stretches?

Once you have found that time, schedule it into your day and dedicate it to being active. For example, every morning while waiting for the kettle to boil I will do a three, 30 second planks or every weekday at 6pm I will walk the dog for 30 minutes. Pick an activity to do that you will look forward to, exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

I work in a physically demanding job, do I need to exercise on top of that?
Physical activity can help to wind down and clear your mind, it doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous. Exercise can also be an opportunity to meet people or catch up with mates regularly, outside of work, which is great for your mental health.

If you want to get active, but none of these tips are working for you, it might be time to see a professional for some more detailed info for you and your situation.