A young woman who has no time to exercise puts on a pair of running shoes after work in an attempt to start exercising

How to Start Exercising After a Long Break

You’ve quit smoking (congrats!) and you’re thinking of becoming more active to take your mind off random urges to light up.

You might even yell, “but I haven’t exercised in years! How do I even start?” You may not have exercised in a while, and you don’t know where to start or even how to start exercising after such a long time.

Don’t worry! Getting active doesn’t only mean working out at the gym for an hour daily. You could start off with some easy daily exercises in the morning with some simple push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Even activities like brisk walking for 10 minutes to 20 minutes a day can help to continue to curb your cravings.

If you think you don’t need to exercise because you don’t need to lose weight, you couldn’t be more wrong. Do not forget the multiple health benefits exercise can bring. Plus, when you exercise regularly, your brain produces “feel good” chemicals that can help reduce stress. And, of course, when you’re less stressed, it’ll be easier for you to not reach for a cigarette.

Here are some easy ways to add more physical activity to your everyday life.

Related: Your Beat Stress Guide

Walking Is the Easiest Way to Exercise Daily

The easiest way for you to include some physical activity in your day is by walking whenever you can. Heading to work? Alight one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to the office. Do the same when you’re going home.

When it’s time for lunch, make a brisk walk to your favourite lunch spot instead of taking the bus or driving.

Avoid Long Periods of Inactivity

If you have a desk-bound job, take a five-minute walking break every hour. Don’t have time for a walking break? Just get up and do some easy exercises like leg extensions at your desk, or lifting filled water bottles as weights. You can even do some strength-training by lifting a filled water bottle or two. It’s really that simple to have an exercise routine at work, so there’s no excuse for having no time to exercise!

Get Out of the House

When the weekend comes around, why not go for a walk along East Coast Park with the folks instead of being glued to the sofa watching TV? Even window shopping in a neighbourhood shopping mall will increase your step count.

If you need more motivation to keep walking, take part in the National Steps Challenge™. The more steps you take, the higher your chances of winning awesome prizes!

Related: How to Get 10,000 Steps A Day—The Easy Way

Stairway to Health

Elevators and escalators are convenient, but they don’t really count as physical activity. Skip them and take the stairs instead. When you’re at the MRT station, climb the stairs instead of riding the escalator. Or take the stairs to your office instead of using the elevator.

These actions might seem small but, trust us, over time they'll add up and help you burn those calories and get fitter (fun fact: taking the stairs burns five times the calories compared to taking the lift!).

Related: The Nudge to Budge: Why You Should Step Out of that Chair

Get Active Together

If you find it hard to exercise by yourself, grab your family or friends to join you for a workout. Having company might be just the motivation you need to keep active.

No idea where to look for group workouts? Try ActiveSG. It offers tons of exercise programmes like aerobics, Zumba, and kickboxing.

The Gym Next Door

If there’s a gym near your home or office, why not sign up? You can sign up with a friend or colleague, or get to know new workout buddies at the gym. If it’s within your budget, you could even look out for a personal trainer. He’ll not only help you stay motivated, but he’ll get you to use all the muscle groups in your upper and lower body with a few simple workout routines.

Being more active in your daily life is easier than you think, so don’t be afraid to start getting active. Begin with small steps (literally!) and staying active will eventually become your healthy exercise habit.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practice caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

*Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice that can help you quit.


Read these next: