With half the UK failing to take any exercise at all, we look at how to start your fitness journey, and why self-consciousness shouldn’t stand in your way.
It’s often said that if exercise were a pill, everyone would be taking it. It’s the miracle cure that reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent.
Yet half of all UK adults never do any exercise at all and 37 per cent of Scots don’t do enough: so, what’s stopping us? All manner of things, according to the team at Fitness Takeaway in Airdrie.
“Most of the people we work with want to lose weight, but they either don’t know where to start, or are too self-conscious to join a gym or go along to an exercise class,” said Paul Ferguson, manager at the company, which rents out treadmills, static bikes and other gym equipment.
Paul, whose company is marking its 30th anniversary this year, offered some sound advice to people who wanted to get started on their fitness journey.
“It’s important to start small and not try to do too much at once. Choose an activity that you can make part of your everyday life, then build on it,” he said.
“Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes, so experiment to find something you enjoy.”
That might be hitting the gym, but equally it could be walking the dog more or attending a dance class. Many people prefer to exercise in the privacy of their own home.
If that’s the case, consider hiring equipment – be it a cardio machine like a cross-trainer or treadmill, or a low impact machine like an exercise bike. Exercising at home takes away the embarrassment of uncomfortable comparisons to those around you.
“It also means they can change their machine if they want to try something different,” explained Paul, adding that Fitness Takeaway had been founded by heating engineer John Fleming, after seeing how many abandoned pieces of gym equipment were lurking in people’s lofts.
In 2015, 65 per cent of Scottish adults over 16 were overweight, of whom 29 per cent were obese, and when it comes to losing weight, Paul said, nutrition was the biggest part of the puzzle.
“Eating a healthy, balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables is the first step.
“The formula for a healthy weight is 20 per cent exercise and 80 per cent what you eat,” he said.
According to the NHS, to stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day, and aim to achieve at last 150 minutes of physical activity a week. And that can all add up to a big difference.
Studies have shown that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30 per cent lower risk of early death, depression and dementia. What’s more, exercise can boost self-esteem, improve mood, sleep quality and energy levels.
And that’s why Paul, who has worked at Fitness Takeaway for 19 years, loves his job, he said.
“I get to meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds, and see them at every stage of their journey.”
To learn more about how you can kick-start your journey to fitness in the security of your own home, visit www.fitnesstakeaway.com, or head to 3-5 Hogg Street, Airdrie, ML6 9JH. Telephone: 01236 767211. Phone lines open 9am-9pm