Please could you help a total couch potato take the first steps to exercise?

(29 Posts)
nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 20:01:07

I am 46. 5ft 4ins and weigh 16 stone. blush I am a mess. I do very very little exercise and I am to the stage where I feel nervous even to walk very far, or up hill or anything really, just in case I can't cope, get breathless or bake a tit of myself. I really really desperately want and need to change. I don't want to be this unfit. I am worried about the impact of my inactivity on my health. I know it's dangerous.
Please, can anyone recommend a plan which starts with the baby steps I need to get some sort of basic fitness before I can start a proper regime?
I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell me off. I know what a twit I am for letting myself get to this stage. sad
I'm looking for helpful hints. I'd rather exercise alone at this stage so that I don't have to rely on someone else being available and unfortunately I can't swim which is a pity.

MrsWolowitz Fri 06-Jun-14 20:02:24

Start small.

Even when you reaalllyyyy don't want to exercise, do it anyway.

You'll regret not doing it and you'll always feel chuffed afterwards.

nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 20:07:31

MrsWolowitz - what sort of exercise do you think would be best? Are we just talking walking (!) or a video or what? What will build strength?

Goldensunnydays81 Fri 06-Jun-14 20:15:49

Hello nameus

I am/was very unfit and am very overweight more than you! sad but 3 weeks ago I started the couch to 5k which although it is hard I can't believe how much fitter I am feeling and it keeps surprising me that things I would have felt out of breath doing before are getting easier and easier and I can now just about run 3 mins at a time! And it is also making me push myself a bit more each time!
What kind of things are you in to?

Glitterkitten24 Fri 06-Jun-14 20:16:31

Just get started. Don't wait til Monday, or wait til a sunny day, just start it now. You don't need 'gear', just comfy clothes and shoes.

Start small and don't hurt yourself- if you are walking, choose a nice route and continue to walk it regularly. Time roughly how long it takes you to walk to the route- it's really motivational when you see that you are taking less time to complete your route as your fitness increases.

Finally, don't worry about 'making a tit of yourself' as you said- when I started running I felt self coup sinuous for all of 5 minutes thinking people were looking at me- but they are not! Have you ever looked at someone exercising and sneered? No, neither do most people- they think 'good on them for doing it'. So don't worry about that!

Good luck, keep posting and let us know how you get on.

nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 20:21:16

Golden - run 3 mins??!!! Wow. I don't think I'm in a place to run 3 seconds at the moment.
I don't mind what exercise it is really, as long as it won't kill me, but I cannot stress enough how unfit I am. I get out of breath carrying a full basket of washing up the stairs sad
I work and I'm also studying do ordinarily I don't have an enormous amount of time however I have finished lectures until October so I've got time on my hands to spend on making an effort.
Is couch to 10k on line? Or a DVD or what?
Congratulations on doing so well, I think it's fab that you can already feel the difference thanks

nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 20:23:50

Glitter - thanks for that encouragement, is it walking that I should be going for initially then do you think?

Goldensunnydays81 Fri 06-Jun-14 20:28:31

I know the first week I thought it would kill me running for a minute but I done it and it was ok, the couch to 5k can be downloaded as an app on to your phone the nhs has one but there is also others. It takes about 30 minutes to do and I do it 3 times a week early in the morning so no one can see me wink
Every time you start with a 5 minute warm up walk then the first week you run/ jog for 1 minute and then walk for 1.5 mins and you do this 6 times ( increasing by 1 run each day) then each week it changes.
I know I have only done 3 weeks of it but I am liking it and this is the first time I have done and kind of enjoyed exercise in a Long long time!
Also I recommend doing it somewhere flat smile

MamaMumra Fri 06-Jun-14 20:57:03

Start by walking every day nameus
Can you get an app that counts your steps? Bupa ground miles is a good one and free.

Aim for 10,000 steps a day and once you are meeting that goal on a regular basis, start interspersing your walks with a jog - even if it's 30 seconds every couple of minutes.
Good luck thanks

Glitterkitten24 Fri 06-Jun-14 21:10:23

If you are nervous or worried about it as you seem to be then walking would break you in gently and get you in a bit if a routine.
If you fancy incorporating running straight away I would second the 'couch to 5k' app- it starts you off really slowly, with lots of walking, then running at intervals but it's very gradual.

You will be amazed at how quickly your fitness builds up, I started running in Feb and struggled to run for 30 seconds at a time- last month I did a 5k event and kept running the whole time.

Do what feels right for your starting level of fitness- anything is better than nothing, so even if you are just going out for a 30 minute walk, it's better than 30 minutes sat on the couch! ;)

Running is fab - it's free and gets you fit like nothing else. I know it seems impossible now, but I was heavy when I started. Start with brisk walking. As you get fitter, add in tiny bits of jogging. I think that's pretty much what Couchto5k does. It will change your life.

Willpower is always a problem. You'll be tempted not to bother today because it's raining/you're a bit tired/you have too much housework to do (insert excuse here). But stick at it. It gets easier and you'll be amazed at what you can achieve. Good luck!

CMOTDibbler Fri 06-Jun-14 21:26:05

How about doing C25K, but instead of running, walk fast in those bits - it'll stop you just trundling gently along (which is better than sitting on the sofa, but won't get you fitter), and the structure makes you feel like you are acheiving.

And I agree, don't wait for anything, get out tomorrow and make a start. I find keeping a record helps me to think that I can't fool myself!

Once you get more confident, think about getting on a bike too - my dh started this year very overweight, and very unfit. So far, he's lost nearly 4 stone (fasts 3 days a week), and gone from struggling to cycle 3km to doing 100 miles a week. And his knees both need replacing!

nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 21:46:25

Thanks everyone, this is great info, just what I'm looking for. I've downloaded the couch-5k app and I'll look for a step counter one too. I feel really encouraged by all your positive stories.

Just a couple more questions - I'm assuming I'll need reasonable trainers - any suggestions which won't break the bank? And also does anyone know where I can get a reasonably supportive bra? I don't want two black eyes and two black knees wink.

Finally, have you found that as you become fitter you naturally eat more healthily or is anyone combining a diet regime? Or would you say that I'd benefit more to save my willpower for the exercise and a natural sideline benefit might be that I'm less inclined to pig out?

Goldensunnydays81 Fri 06-Jun-14 22:01:01

I have got a shock absorber bra! Which is great as I am a 40gg so rather largeshock but i don't bounce too much with that one! I have got really wide feet too and have some sketcher trainers which were about £30 and are super comfy so I don't think that you need to get too expensive trainers.
I am also trying to do slimming world at the moment and definetly find the days that i do exercise I eat better just trying to work on the other days blush
Good luck

Yy to the Shock Absorber bra. Trainers don't have to be expensive, just comfortable and appropriate for running. I do find that when I'm doing exercise I eat better. If you're wanting to eat more healthily too, check out the Eat Betterers thread - it's quite low-key and sensible but quite inspiring!

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 06-Jun-14 22:30:00

The principle behind C25K is that you keep going for 30 minutes. It's very much about a bit of walking, a bit of running. Just balance it out. But try to keep it going for 30 minutes (even if you walk the whole thing at first and just do the odd bit of running). That will help to build your stamina.

Once you get into it, you'll find that you want to eat more healthily anyway, because you start to feel the benefits. But in the meantime, definitely think about how you can eat more healthily and what you can do to change your diet.

Well done for getting this far.

peacoat Fri 06-Jun-14 22:34:01

Re the trainers: I would seriously consider getting a pair of proper runners if you plan on making running your thing. You'd be looking at anywhere from £80 - £120 for a decent pair but they will help prevent injury over the long term and so running will be more sustainable.

They should last around 6 months at least (longer if you don't choose to take up half marathons and so on) so it's not a massive investment over time.

Go to a specialist running shop if you have one near you. They will watch you run and see what level of support you need. If no specialist shop near you, make sure you have a decent thumb distance at the end of your shoe, they are comfy, and have good cushioning and support. And make sure they are proper running shoes.

OublietteBravo Fri 06-Jun-14 22:38:54

Good luck OP. My one piece of advice would be to keep an exercise diary. That way you can look back and see how far you've come. I find that writing down what I've actually done makes it more 'real' somehow.

peacoat Fri 06-Jun-14 22:42:32

I should mention you don't have to run in the shop if you don't want to. The specialist shops aren't intimidating - everybody has to start somewhere.

Good luck! The running bug can be addictive wink

Choccyjules Fri 06-Jun-14 22:46:35

Am watching with interest, OP.

I am in a similar situation to yourself and a few weeks ago read up on this mythical couch25K everyone was talking about, it sounds marvellous but I really cannot run. I have a back problem from an injury 25 yrs ago and if I run two steps these days I create pain which lasts for 24 hours. It makes me sad and frustrated as I want to try but know what will happen. It's honestly not an excuse.

Can anyone advise? Shall I stick to walking and make sure I actually do that, instead?

peacoat Fri 06-Jun-14 23:55:42

Choccyjules I too have a back problem (from overtraining for a marathon a few years back) which means the C25K actually works for me as my back is slowly adapting to running again.

However, that may not work for you. Have you been advised against running? If so, why not take up walking, swimming or cycling? You can still follow the principles of the C25K in terms of a slow build up with recovery, and gradually lengthen the cardio time and shorten the recovery.

You could always throw in a bit of yoga as well.

nameuschangeus Fri 06-Jun-14 23:58:51

Oh wow, I just thought I'd check thus thread before bed and i can see I've got lots of responses. I'll read them properly in the morning but in the meantime thank you fit being so supportive thanks

wafflyversatile Sat 07-Jun-14 00:02:26

Getting off the bus a stop or 3 early?

Getting a wii fit? for the exercises, sports or Just Dance, which might be more fun.

get something like the myfitnesspal app or a pedometer app so you can keep track of your eating and exercise. The more you exercise the more you can eat!

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 07-Jun-14 08:18:08

I think that's true about the exercise diary. I liked to see it stacking up. And you can see improvement too. I used to put things like "Walked 1 minute, ran 1 minute all the way" and eventually it became "Walked 1 minute, ran 10 minutes".

And setting 3 times a week when you're going to do your chosen form of exercise (I know we've all talked about running but it doesn't have to do that) so that it becomes a routine.

Choccyjules Sat 07-Jun-14 11:31:24

Thanks peacoat for your advice (sorry again for the hijack OP!)

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