Beginner's guide to exercise: get the kit
Whether you're planning to start running, cycling or doing some flexibility training, you'll need the right kit before you begin. Our handy checklist takes you through some basics.
If you're new to exercise and hoping to embark on a new, healthier regime, we've put together six great bits of kit to help you on your way. Before you start, if you're particularly unfit – or maybe taking up exercise again after a break due to an injury or illness – it's a good idea to check with your GP that your chosen activity is going to be safe for you.
The items in our “Get fit kit” below are simply suggestions. The world of sport embraces so many different disciplines it's impossible to offer a definitive guide. While some activities require specialist equipment, you may be able to hire the necessary kit or at least try it out first before making a significant investment. Joining a sports club or signing up to a series of classes can be a good way in, and will give you access to kayaks, rowing boats, sailing boats or horses – or whatever your chosen activity involves – without a costly outlay. The most important thing is to choose an activity you enjoy – and have fun!
Get fit kit
- Running shoes (from approx. £50): it's crucial to choose a pair of shoes that offer adequate support and cushioning.
- High visibility vest (from approx. £2): whether you're running or cycling, make sure other road and pavement users can see you.
- Pedometer (from approx. £1): a simple step counter helps you work out how far you're walking each day. The NHS recommends working up to 10,000 steps a day.
- Resistance band (from approx. £1.50): use a stretch strap when doing arm and/or leg exercises to help improve your flexibility and muscle tone.
- Hand weights (from approx. £2 each): a pair of light dumbbells is a great way to ramp up a run or your morning stretches.
- Sports bra (from approx. £15): an essential for sports women of all shapes and sizes. Choose the right level of support – light, medium or high – depending on whether you're attending a gentle yoga class or sprinting round the park.
New to exercise?
The NHS has plenty of ideas and tips for getting started, whether you have your sights fixed on walking, cycling, swimming or running.
Find out how our guinea-pigs rated the Couch to 5K programme. This free NHS app takes you from total couch potato to running five kilometres over the course of nine weeks.
Our keeping active hub will also give you more information about different forms of exercise