Choosing the right activity will help your patient stay active. They may need to try a variety of activities before finding the one which is local, enjoyable and practical (use the LEAP test below). The search tools below can also give you ideas on local activities.
The following questions have been devised to stimulate ideas on what activities people may want to do. This process encourages patient centred decision making and can be found on the P4E: Stay Active (public/patient) section of this website too.
- Have I been inactive for a while?
If the answer is yes, start with walking, biking or swimming at a comfortable pace. This gives you an idea of what shape you are in without straining your body.
- Do I want to do this on my own or with others?
Doing activities on your own gives you that precious personal time which can also be simpler to start as you do not need to rely on anyone. Some of us may prefer to do activities with others. Two-person activities, such as dancing or tennis and group sports, such as football, can help you stay more motivated but you need to consider how to find a partner or group.
- How much does my activity cost?
Many activities are free, requiring no special equipment. A comfortable pair of trainers is all that is needed when walking. Many free or affordable options are on offer at local community centres.
- Do I prefer indoors or outdoors?
Outdoor activities offer a variety in weather and scenery. An indoor activity does not give you this but it shelters you from bad weather and seasonal changes. Alternating where you do your activity can help you stay motivated.
- Home or gym?
Doing exercises at home gives you the convenience of not having to step outside your front door. Some people find that going to a gym with options for a variety of equipment, fitness instructors and classes helps them to stay more motivated.
The LEAP Test
Choosing the right activitiy to maintain is not easy. Use this quick test on your patients. Answering ‘yes’ to all of the LEAP questions increases their chance of keeping it up.
Is the new activity:
Local? (if it is too far than it is harder to maintain)
Enjoyable? (activities that excite you will be keep you going back for more)
Practical? (if it can’t be done easily, it won’t last).
Finding activities in your local area
Use the change4life search engine for details of hundreds of places where you can have fun and get active near to you. There’s something for all the family.
Launched just before London 2012 games, Spogo, is a smart new digital service designed to make it easy for you to find (and, over time, book) sports and physical activities. It is a not-for-profit site funded by a lottery grant awarded to ukactive by Sport England.
Organised walking groups can be a great way to get started. Below are links to some walks led by organisations:
If you want to try a new sport or activity visit Get Inspired, an excellent nationwide initiative run by BBC Sport, to find out where to go, and who to speak to.