I try to have breaks each week and aim to take some time most days to be outside and exercise and to connect with friends more regularly.

We all know physical activity is important for our health and wellbeing, but ‘exercise’ is one of those words that conjures up very different feelings for different people.

You may see it as something enjoyable – relieving tension and stress and making you feel good. Or you may see it as just one more chore to add to an already long list. We’ve provided some ideas to help you get the exercise you’d like or know you need.

  • Make a plan
    You’ll move more if you plan for physical activity. Incorporate exercise in your ‘me time’ plan using our Take 1, Take 5 Weekly Planner. Aim for 30 minutes of physical exercise each day. You might be surprised just how active you are already and that you may just need to step it up a little to get all the exercise you need – an extra walk or two each week, or more time in the garden.
  • Little and often
    Setting aside a block of time regularly can be difficult, so aim to do a little each day. Try Strength for Life, our simple, 15 minute exercise programme developed by national bodybuilder Wayne Halkyard especially for carers.
  • Better together
    Make an exercise date with a family member or friend. You can encourage each other, and the social aspect makes the time go faster. It might be easier to try something new – like a yoga or Zumba class – if you go with someone you know. If there’s a shared game or activity you enjoy, but you can never find the time, it may help to make a firm commitment to play regularly with the same partner. You’ll make an extra effort because you won’t want to let them down. It might also make it easier for the person you support to accept your absence if it’s a regular thing.
  • Do what you can
    If you are unable to exercise vigorously, do what you can. Every bit of physical activity will contribute to overall wellbeing. For example, try stretching exercises to increase your flexibility. A great place to start is Anna Filliol’s Stretch, Focus and Relax ‘watch and learn’ series. You may also be able to include the person you support in your exercise routine, whether it’s stretching and strengthening exercises or activities like gardening or going for a walk. Try Ellen van Dijken’s ideas for getting active together if you have a child with disabilities (see Further Reading).