How to start exercising when you are out of shape. Hutton Health

How to start exercising when you are out of shape

3rd May 2023

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How to start exercising when you are out of shape

Table of contents:

  1. Health risks from living a sedentary lifestyle
  2. Things to consider when starting an exercise program if you are feeling unfit
  3. Types of exercise
  4. Important tips to remember to start exercising when you feel out of shape


The motivation to start exercising can come from a variety of places. Perhaps your GP delivered a health scare based on your current health and fitness levels, you weren’t able to keep up with your children to walk along the seaside, or you realised that your clothing no longer fits.

Sadly, when the realisation that you need to improve your health and fitness hits, you can also feel like you are too out of shape to start an exercise program.

It can seem daunting to start exercising when you feel out of shape, with questions like:

  • How do you get the motivation to exercise?
  • How do you find time to exercise?
  • What do you need to wear to exercise?
  • What are the best exercises for a beginner?
  • How much do you need to exercise?

Health risks from living a sedentary lifestyle

There are many consequences to living a sedentary lifestyle. Often these aren’t realised until a health scare or illness removes the belief that ‘this won’t happen to me’.

Health consequences of being inactive include:

  • Sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time may leave you more prone to cardiovascular problems.
  • Physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions, including;
  • coronary heart disease (CHD), 
  • type 2 diabetes
  • breast and colon cancers 
  • shortens life expectancy.

A lack of physical exercise can also increase your feelings of anxiety and depression, leading you to feel lonely and isolated – something we know only too well after the pandemic! Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, hormones that make us feel good.

Health risks from living a sedentary lifestyle

Things to consider when starting an exercise program if you are feeling unfit

Health check:

If you have not exercised for a long period of time, it is a good idea to have a health check with your GP to ensure that your body is able to safely begin exercising.

A qualified coach or personal trainer will be able to create a plan based on any health conditions to ensure that your medical needs are taken into consideration so your journey to exercising is done safely.

This blog shares the benefits of working with a health and fitness coach.



Set a health or fitness goal

A goal can help keep you focused and committed to your home workouts. Post your goal where it is visible to you for added motivation.

Not all goals are created equal.  Download Hutton Health’s free Goal Setting Workbook to ensure you are setting effective health and fitness goals.


Track your fitness and health stats

I use a fitness tracker as my regular watch so it can track my stats each day. I set myself a target number of steps each day, and this helps to motivate me to move my body regularly through the day.

Setting a step goal and tracking your steps is one of the best ways to use a fitness tracker when starting an exercise program.

As your fitness, health and endurance increase, you can add daily steps to your goal to continue your progress.

Lack of time

If exercise is not currently integrated in your daily routine, it can seem challenging to find the time to fit movement into your day. Find out tips for fitting exercise into your busy schedule in this blog post.

Things to consider when starting an exercise program if you feel unfit

Types of exercise:

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and breathing rate because it uses oxygen to provide energy for our body to continue working.

If you are just starting to exercise, your body is inefficient at using the oxygen you breathe to generate energy for your skeletal muscles to use. This means that you will likely tire quicker and find it more difficult to exercise for long periods of time.

As you exercise more, your body will become more efficient at using oxygen and generating the energy for your muscles to work. This will make exercise seem easier and will allow you to exercise longer as your endurance improves.

If you are just starting to exercise, walking is a great way to begin moving your body safely. Find out  more about walking your way to health and fitness.  


Strength training

There are a number of benefits of incorporating strength training into your programme as you age.

It is important that we focus on our muscular strength as we get older because as we age, hormonal changes result in muscular atrophy (a decrease in muscle mass). This loss of muscle is one of the main causes of age-related weight gain.

Muscle is important for our metabolism and for functional movements used in daily living, such as bending, lifting and standing. Our muscles also play an important role in supporting our joints.

This blog looks at different types of strength and strength training.

Feeling unsure how to begin including strength training into your exercise program can be a barrier to starting to exercise. Hutton Health offers structured programs and the support, accountability and motivation of an experienced coach at your fingertips.

Decathlon offers a huge range of affordable equipment for home workouts!



As you get older your muscles become less flexible and your joint mobility decreases. Stretching helps to counter this by moving joints through their full range of movement.

Benefits of yoga and/or stretching include:


- improve sleep

- reduce stress

- reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

- reduce pain

- improve posture

- improve flexibility

- improve strength

- improve stamina

- help to recover from injuries

- compliment other therapies such as physiotherapy or osteopathy from injuries

- reduces inflammation

- improve digestion

Having a good quality yoga mat for your home gym can make floor exercises much more comfortable. 

types of exercise

Important tips to remember to start exercising when you feel out of shape:

  • It is okay if you cannot finish every workout…focus on progress, not perfection
  • It is okay to huff and puff and feel out of breath…this WILL get easier
  • It is okay to take a break during a workout…as your fitness increases you will be able to exercise for longer without taking a break
  • It is okay to modify your exercise…any movement is better than sitting on the sofa!
  • Slow and steady…don’t expect to make HUGE progress quickly…focus on exercises that you can commit to for the long term


Many people feel like they are too out of shape to start an exercise or fitness program. Exercise truly is for every BODY and no one is too out of shape to start exercising.

It is easy to put off your health and fitness goals to start next week, next month, next year…..but there are an abundance of reasons for starting your journey right now.

Investing in YOUR body and YOUR health is the number one thing that you can do for yourself.


Important tips to remember to start exercising when you feel out of shape:
Lolë EU

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