How to Start a Sport if you Lead a Sedentary Lifestyle

17th March 2019
If it's been a long time since the last time you exercised, you need to start an organized and patient return to activity. We'll show you several aspects you need to take into consideration to achieve this.

Surely you have read that leading a sedentary life is bad for your health? Although you may not know how to change this situation. In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to start practicing a sport if you haven’t trained for a while…or even if you’ve never practiced a sport!

Change your sedentary lifestyle today

Maybe the headline sounds like misleading advertising? What is true is that you can change your habits and stop leading a sedentary life to the point that you commit to it. It’s just a matter of making up your mind!

The vast majority of sedentary people begin a physical activity just to abandon it a few days later. Many people don’t even use the first month that they have paid for at the gym. Generally, this happens when you can’t find a sport you really love. When you do find it, you’ll never want to quit.

One of the most common excuses is, “I’m too old!” However, there are many sports that adapt to people of different ages and skills. Try yoga, aqua gym or even go for a walk in the afternoon.

As soon as you leave your sedentary lifestyle behind, you’ll feel good about yourself. Your self-esteem will improve noticeably, you’ll like what you see in the mirror and you’ll feel as if you can “conquer the world”.

Gradual start

There’s no need to run a marathon from the very beginning! It’s essential to take it slowly, and gradually increase the days you workout and how long your sessions last.

For example, you can start twice a week for 20 minutes each session, and later, try three times a week for 30 minutes per session. This way you’ll increase your workouts until you reach the recommended amount of three times a week for three hours.

Don’t want to go to the gym because you’re embarrassed or can’t afford it? You can workout at home! Play some videos on your smartphone or television and follow training programs according to your needs. You can also go out for a walk – find some stairs to climb nearby- all this at no cost at all.

Always choose an activity that you enjoy. If for any reason you don’t feel like working out, don’t force yourself. This doesn’t mean quitting, just spoiling yourself a bit. You deserve it for the daily efforts you have made to leave your sedentary lifestyle behind you.

sad girl working out

More advice to say goodbye to your sedentary lifestyle

One of the most common mistakes that people who look for a more active lifestyle make is to start working out for hours and hours at once. To avoid this, it’s fundamental that you take it slowly. Pay attention to this advice:

1. You are not who you used to be

A few years ago you could train for an hour without becoming tired, You could ride a bike for 20 miles and be as “fresh as a daisy” or play football every weekend. However, these days are behind you. It’s not a reason to feel depressed but for you to be aware of your current capabilities and act accordingly.

2. Do not rush

A lot of people want to make up for all the time they wasted without training. This leads them to injuries, fatigue, and quitting in a few weeks. Remember that exercise brings benefits in the medium and long term. Haste is not welcome, go slow.

3. Don’t feel forced

If you’re going to the gym or working out because your doctor advised you to do so or your partner talked you into it, it’s not going to work. Of course you may see the benefits. But, we refer to the fact that if you perform the exercise as an obligation, you won’t enjoy it. Besides, you’ll also have the wrong impression of the exercise.

It’s better to find a sport you really enjoy than looking for excuses to quit as soon as you find a chance to.

girl bored working out

To leave your sedentary lifestyle behind you do not have to become a professional athlete. It’s just a matter of motivation. Trade some couch time for walks in the park, getting away from the desk once in a while,  looking for the stairs instead of the elevator. Small changes go a long way to bringing you results!

  • Teychenne, M., Ball, K., & Salmon, J. (2010). Sedentary behavior and depression among adults: A review. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-010-9075-z
  • Biddle, S. J. H., Gorely, T., Marshall, S. J., Murdey, I., & Cameron, N. (2004). Physical activity and sedentary behaviors in youth: Issues and controversies. Journal of The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. https://doi.org/10.1177/146642400312400110
  • Varo, J. J., Martínez-González, M. A., de Irala-Estévez, J., Kearney, J., Gibney, M., & Martínez, J. A. (2003). Distribution and determinants of a sedentary lifestyle in the European Union. International Journal of Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyg116
  • Tuomilehto, J., Lindström, J., Eriksson, J. G., Valle, T. T., Hämäläinen, H., Ilanne-Parikka, P., … Uusitupa, M. (2001). Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by Changes in Lifestyle among Subjects with Impaired Glucose Tolerance. New England Journal of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM200105033441801
  • Smith, A. (2012). Obesity and Sedentary Lifestyles. Cardiovascular Disease in Women.