Getting started on moving more
Find out about how to get motivated and set goals to move more, local walks and parks, free swim and gym for residents, and local fitness and wellbeing classes.
If you haven’t been very active before, or for a while, gradually build up the amount that you do, in an activity that works for you. This might be walking or cycling around your community, or trying an activity you enjoy with family and friends.
If you're struggling to get started, below are some tips that may help you.
Your motivation might be to:
- have more energy
- feel better
- have fewer aches and pains, or
- spend more quality time with those that you love
Write your reason down and put it somewhere you can see it to remind yourself. This will help you on days when it’s cold and wet and your motivation is low.
Try our free digital health coach
Our digital health and wellbeing coach can help you consider ways you can make a positive change and move more.
The digital coach will never tell you what to do. Instead, it supports you to think about how you might want to make positive changes to your life.
The digital coach has been created by health experts and Southwark residents who want to make improvements to their health and wellbeing. It will signpost you to a range of local support to help you achieve your goals.
Choose your activity to get you moving more
Many of us are put off by sport or gyms and feel that we don’t belong there. We might have not enjoyed sport at school, or feel intimidated by how fit everyone looks at the gym.
Or perhaps you used to play a sport, but it seems a bit much now, and you’re worried everyone will be younger and fitter.
There really is an activity for everyone. The key is finding something that you enjoy. You may have to try a few different activities before you find something that you love. If in doubt, start with walking.
Ways to try out local walks
Not sure where to walk near you? Try out the free walking app Go Jauntly.
With Go Jauntly you can discover local walks with easy to follow photo guides that highlight points of interest and places to eat:
You can also download and print local walking maps
These routes include a variety of different walks exploring Southwark’s film locations, green spaces and the myths and legends of the borough!
Leisure and sports facilities in Southwark
You can find out more about the leisure and sports facilities available in the borough. Find out about free gym and swim for residents at local leisure centres.
Set a future goal for moving more
It can help to have something to work towards. For some people, this might be about being able to run 5km. For others, it could be to walk to the shops without getting out of breath. Think of something that you want to achieve and why, and write it down. It can help to have a date that you want to achieve this by.
Plan your physical activity to help you succeed
The trick is to build up your physical activity levels gradually. If your goal is to be able to run 5km, don’t go out and try to do that straight away.
Start with a small goal. For example, your aim may be to walk to the shops and back without getting out of breath. You might want to start by walking part of the way, and then getting on the bus.
It can help to set specific times and dates for your activity. With an alternative plan in place if something gets in the way.
For example - "I will walk for ten minutes on Tuesday at 10am. If something gets in the way, I will walk in the afternoon". Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it.
Put this somewhere visual.
Record your physical activity
Record when you have achieved your activity, and keep a record of your achievements. It can also help to write how you felt afterwards.
For example: “Tuesday walk, felt relaxed and happy.”
If you didn’t do it, that’s ok. It’s important not to beat yourself up when you don’t achieve something. Think about why you didn’t do it, and what would help you to overcome that next time.
For example - "It was raining, and I didn’t want to go. Next time, if it’s raining, I’ll try an indoor activity".
What to do if you are struggling with motivation to move more
One way to plan for low motivation is to remind yourself of why you want to move more.
It can also help to get support from others and making a commitment to being active at a particular time. Get motivated by signing up to a fitness, wellbeing or dance class.
Page last updated: 27 June 2023