FitnessDrive - What Can You Do To Get Fit?


We all start off wanting to lose weight and get fitter and something triggers this reaction; it could be a new year or new clothes or a photo that someone took at a party. But it’s not the body we need to focus on – it’s the mind.

Humans generally (but not all) are creatures of habit. Our brain conditions us to do things automatically such as driving or shopping or even making a cup of tea. Our habits form part of our life and our body and brain gets us into a routine.

Humans generally don’t like change. At work when the company announces a change in the way they work this can send a shimmer of dread down the spine of many because it creates uncertainty. People often have fear of the unknown and therefore shy away.

Many people often go to the same places on holiday or same restaurants because they know the routine, they don’t need to overthink or fear the unknown in somewhere new. Getting fit is the same. If we haven’t run, jogged, swam, cycled in years then not only is it a strain on the brain but on the body. Especially if we do as most humans do and go crazy and cycle 10 miles on the first outing and then your legs ache for days and then our brain says give up.

Fitness Facts

These facts are taken from the Public Health England Guidance on Health matters: getting every adult active every day, which was published on 19 July 2016.  


of moderate intensity activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, is what all adults should aim for

cases a year

of cancers in the UK are linked to people doing less than 150 minutes activity a week


is the amount that people in the UK are less active than they were in the 1960s – this could be 35% by 2030 on current trends

£ 1

is what the lack of physical activity is costing the UK a year

How active are we?

Get healthy and feel well golden years

Who is most active?

The Public Health England paper on Health matters referred to above and the NHS Digital publication on Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet – England, 2018 [PAS] give us this information on who’s active and who isn’t.  To see these see the link below in ‘More Info’.  Some key points are shown below.

Overall this shows how we are doing.

activity fitness

Not surprisingly younger people tend to be more active

adult activity and fitness

It also varies by gender and ethnicity

There seems to be a North / South divide…

fitness map

Does it matter?

Health benefits

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ report Start active, stay active has the infographic which shows the benefits of physical activity and some steps you can take.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has a number of clinical pathways that highlight the role of physical activity in preventing and managing illness.

The Public Health England paper on Health matters shows

health benefits of activity and fitness

Physical activity and cancer

Physical activity can play a critical role across all elements of cancers; prevention, treatment, recovery and reducing the risk of recurrence.

A study on Cancers attributable to inadequate physical exercise in the UK in 2010 estimates that around 1% of cancers in the UK (around 3,400 cases every year) are linked to people doing less than the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Start active, stay active report (available in More Info below) highlights that a lack of physical activity is a risk factor for cancers of the:

  • breast – for every 2 hours a week a woman spends doing moderate to vigorous activity, the risk of breast cancer falls by 5%.
  • bowel –  by getting cancer-causing substances through faster, reducing insulin (encourage tumour growth) and reducing prostaglandins (involved in inflammation)
  • womb – reducing oestrogen levels and circulating insulin

There is a link between physical activity and mental health

Physical activity can boost mental wellbeing and help reduce social isolation, a risk factor for depression.

The link between physical activity and depression is well established. Physical inactivity and depression in the community: evidence from a field study found that people who are inactive have 3 times the rate of moderate to severe depression of active people. NICE guidelines CG90 recommends a programme of physical activity for people with mild depression. Other positive outcomes of physical activity include:

  • a sense of purpose and value
  • a better quality of life
  • improved sleep
  • reduced stress

Physical activity is GOOD for your health!

Workout Exercises for Fitness

Exercise videos

This 6 minute video from Brain and Memory Foundation is also accessed from the NHS website, which has other videos on exercise – click here.   In addition there are plenty of exercise videos on YouTube.

You have to decide that you want to get fitter and do more exercise – then it’s just down to will power. If you think you have lots of willpower and create some new habits and stick to the plan then go ahead yourself and draw up your plan. If you know yourself and think you are likely to give up, then get support or join a group whereby you can get extra motivation when you need it.

In both cases there’s more information on how best to do it on FitnessDrive – YouDrive Thinks – click here or the button on the back of the slider below.

Clicking the button on the back gives you more information and YouDrive’s view!

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
Activist and leader

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See what other things can help

More information

A list of infographics from the Department of Health and Social Care explaining physical activity needed for different age ranges 

The Chief Medical Officer describes how much exercise we should be doing, with supporting documents

Cancer Research have a section on physical activity and cancer – click here to link

Download an updated set of guidelines from 2019 by the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK

Download the original 2011 Start Active Stay Active report which  is by the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK

2011 Start Active Stay Active physical activity guidelines for adults (19-64) as an infographic.

The General practice physical activity questionnaire (GPPAQ) is used to provide a simple physical activity index – download it as a PDF here

The General practice physical activity questionnaire (GPPAQ) is used to provide a simple physical activity index – download it as an Excel Spreadsheet here

The General practice physical activity questionnaire (GPPAQ) is used to provide a simple physical activity index – download the guidance notes here

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