Walking is one of the easiest healthy exercises to do.

The stationary exercise bike can also be a good alternative, especially if you have joint problems that make walking difficult or if the weather is not conducive to getting outside.

The prevailing guidance is to use 6-12 week exercise programmes with 2-5 weekly training sessions of 30-45 minutes each. It is advisable not to over-train or the benefit will be lost, particularly on symptoms of depression.

Here is a recommended walking and stationary cycling programme for someone who does not exercise regularly. It is very gradual and increases by about a minute every three days.

Week 1-2

  • Walking time: 3-6 minutes
  • Stationary bycicle time: 5-10 minutes

Week 3-4

  • Walking time: 6-10 minutes
  • Stationary bycicle time: 10-15 minutes

Week 5-6

  • Walking time: 10-15 minutes
  • Stationary bycicle time: 15-20 minutes

Week 7-8 

  • Walking time: 15-20 minutes
  • Stationary bycicle time: 20-25 minutes

To start, walk on flat ground and avoid hills. Walk along a route you know well. Ride a stationary bike without straining or putting on resistance.

Adapt the pace of your exercise so that you are able to talk at the same time. If you are not able to talk, you are probably doing too much!

If you find these activities monotonous, don’t hesitate to practice them in a more motivating context, in a club, with a coach, in nature, listening to your favourite music, with friends… These are all handy strategies to help you get motivated.

You can also choose new activities to get out of your comfort zone and feel proud of yourself.