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A step by step guide to getting active

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health, and it is never too late to start. Any form of movement can be beneficial, including a ten-minute walk around the block, a jog up the stairs, or a cycle to the shops. Everything you do adds up to make a happier, healthier you.

If you find it difficult to be physically active, you may find it helpful to start with something achievable and slowly build up your routine.

By getting up and about, you can expect many benefits including:

  • boosts in your mood and energy levels, with improved sleep and a greater ability to relax
  • better management of existing health conditions
  • opportunities for social interaction
laughing woman

Creating a habit

The more you move, the better for your health – but often the hardest part is getting started. Can you think of motivations or ways to include activity in your daily routine? For example, could you:

  • start a podcast series that you only listen to while you’re out walking
  • walk or cycle to the shops instead of using the car
  • get off the bus one stop earlier
  • go for a short walk after lunch or dinner
  • start your day with a walk around the block
  • arrange a walk with a friend, family member or colleague
  • take the stairs rather than the lift?
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Getting started

Walking is one of the easier ways to start moving. If you are not very active but able to walk, start with a short walk and gradually increase the distance over time. All you need is comfortable shoes and clothes.

If you are planning on walking to work, think about a comfortable outfit and comfortable shoes you can change out of when you arrive.

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Enjoying a walk

There are many ways to get the most enjoyment out of your walks.


Think about different routes and places that can keep your walking interesting. You may not need to drive or use public transport, as there could be plenty of unexplored places in your local area.

Music and podcasts

Listening to music or a podcast is a great way to enjoy your walk. By only listening to a podcast when you walk, you can find yourself incentivised to get out more as a way to keep listening.

Points of interest

Are there particular places in your local area that capture your interest? See whether you can plan your route around them. Take your time to notice your surroundings as an act of mindfulness – this is great for mental wellbeing.

Join a group

Lots of people will be in the same position as you, looking for ways to get active and improve their mental and physical wellbeing. If you want to meet people and experience group walking, explore free health walks near you.
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Want to find out more?

Active 10 app – track your steps, set goals, see your achievements, and get tips for boosting your activity

Go Jauntly app – discover walking routes and challenges or create your own

This Girl Can: Easing yourself in - top tips and helpful links to support you to start slowly, try some new ways to be active, and find an activity that you enjoy and feel comfortable doing so that you keep coming back for more!

Activity Alliance: Being Active guide (PDF) – an everyday guide for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions about the benefits of being active and information on how to get started

Hampshire countryside walking routes

Travelling actively to school

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