I need to have my family and friends behind me

Group of Senior men looking at a walking map

Having the support of friends and family is vital to help you start becoming active. It can be a very difficult step for some to be active and they will benefit from all of the support they can get. People tend to hold the thoughts and feedback of friends and family in high regard so it’s very important that this support is helpful and positive. They can support in many ways, practically by doing things to enable you to go out and do something, motivationally by maybe going on a walk with you and giving you a little pep talk when you’re not feeling it and they can create a norm of being active and that you are leading that change. These people are those that you live with, maybe work with and those that you spend time with, all of whom can influence your behaviour. The first step is talk to some of these people about what you want to start doing and asking how they can help. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise and some of them may already be doing things you’re not aware of!

Our friend and family can support us in many ways and we can use them vary. We look at some of them below.

Two senior women dancing

Social Support

Friends and family provide that support where you need it. The simplest form of support is to enable you to do your activity by making sure your responsibilities are covered, such as looking after children and cared for people or doing jobs that need doing. They can also support you in your activity specifically by attending/going with you, motivating you to go, making sure you don’t let them down by not going and the feeling of achieving together. They are there to keep yo going and you need to make sure you have these in place with them to support you.

Group of Adults walking on a path

Restructure your Social Circle

If you’re just starting to get active, this will feel strange but changing how you view and interact with friends and family by identifying as an active person will be really important. To get people to support you, you need to show that you’re serious about being active and seek support from those who want to do it with you. If you go for coffee or to the pub, why not walk there or have a walking catch up with friends. You may want to distance yourself from inactive friends when you plan to do activity as not to get a negative feel from them. That’s not to say leave them, but if you go for a lunchtime walk, they’re potentially not going to motivate you to go. These are possible scenarios which may not occur but it’s good to be aware of them and how they might impact upon you.

Listen to those that know

The input of friends and family are important in most things that you do, however the input of some will have greater impact based on their situation. You should find greater support from those who are in or have been in your activity situation as they have experienced what you’re feeling so you can relate to them better. There may be medical or exercise professionals in your group who can really help you with this. Talk to these people as they will help the most and make feel like you can achieve and that you can identify as an active person. Use any previous experience that you have yourself to work with, if you’ve been active before, remember what you did, what was hard and how you overcame those things before.

Having the support of those around you is a huge factor as to whether you will become active long term. Using them to drag you out when you don’t want to do anything, building in activity with them but then moving onto being the one that inspires others to become active will help your motivation to keep going. You may think you’re just going out for a run but someone else like will see you and think “I really should be doing that” and that could be start of their activity journey.


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