The First Steps From A Sedentary Lifestyle To Exercise

The western world is becoming increasingly sedentary. On the whole we are a LOT less active and lazy now than we were 50 years ago. Why?

  • We drive everywhere compared to walking
  • We get a take away or chuck something in the microwave rather than cooking
  • We can get our shopping delivered to the house rather than going to the shops
  • We can find out what’s going on in the world from our arm chair on smartphones
  • There are a lot more office jobs which require you to sit down 40 hours a week

Plus various other reasons.

I’m not getting on my high horse, I drive everywhere myself I even have the occasional take away!

But if you live a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle then you won’t be able to enjoy life fully and you are much more at risk of suffering from health problems.

I mean who wants to feel out of breathe going up the stairs? Or who wants to have to go shopping in an electric wheelchair because you haven’t got there energy to walk around yourself?

If you get used to doing nothing and spending all your life sat down then before long, that’s all you’ll be able to do.

The simplest of tasks will get increasingly more difficult and you’ll that will then give you an extra excuse to do nothing … unless you do something about it and get active!

The first few steps from a sedentary lifestyle to exercise are the hardest. For many people activities such as walking to the chip shop can be seen as daunting and difficult. So to change that attitude from lounging round the house watching TV mixed with a bad diet of fast foot and to an improved diet made up of good meals and healthy snacks along with actually going out and exercising may seem unlikely.

So to pull this off you need to change your behaviour and your attitude. This is as much psychological as it is physical.

I will touch upon a model known as the Behaviour Change Model, this is made up of 5 distinct phases in most cases:

  1. Pre-contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

I will only discuss the first few stages as if you are reading this the chances are that you are in phase 2-3 and you don’t want to be swamped with information!

For many of you say a few months ago you were in the pre-contemplation phase, you were inactive and there was no intention to change. In order to move from the pre contemplation phase into the contemplation phase something must happen / have happened. The change in attitude could have come from putting on weight, struggling to get into your clothes, noticing you have trouble breathing after a simple activity. Or it could have come from an external factor such as someone making a comment about your weight.

Little things like this lead to a change in psychology, and move you into the contemplation phase where there is an intention and ambition to start exercising. In the early phases the cons will outweigh the pros, this is where you have to be mentally strong to overcome this and exercise, if achieved you can move from the pre contemplation phase.

So the preparation phase now, this can last around 6 months from the pre contemplation phase. Many people experiment in this phase, try and find the right activity for you, it is very important that there is some level of enjoyment in your exercise. Maybe joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer, all of these are positive steps in becoming active.

In order to succeed and make a successful change in your behaviour, motivation is essential; as you move through the phases your motivation will increase. Negative influences become easier to overcome, enjoyment levels increase and you will notice a change mentally and physically. So you are on the right track.. if you are struggling things will get easier and the benefits are great.

For some of you depending on how the preparation phase went you could well be into the action phase. The action phase means you are regularly active and have been for a few months, motivation to exercise is great and there are many noticeable improvements, you can start to forget your previous sedentary lifestyle and look forward to a much more positive future.

Just remember the gym isn’t the only place to exercise. You can go on a bike ride, go for a long walk, play football with your children in the garden or have a game of tennis. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring.

Confidence is key, believe in yourself and you can continue making great changes.

Keep up the good work,

Jamie Stedman

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  1. Hi Jamie, I just wanted to say thank you for your emails over the last few months.
    I have been needing to get back into a healthy lifestyle after suffering from Depression for a couple of years and every few days your emails have taken me a little step closer. I have changed my eating habits gradually since January and this morning, for the first time in years, I got out of bed at 5.30am and went jogging. I feel fantastic! I cant wait to do the same tomorrow.
    So, Thank you, what you are doing is pretty unique, there are not a lot of people in your profession who are prepared to give out free advice like you do with your mailing list and I just wanted to tell you how much of a difference you have made for me.
    Thanks again!

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