What type of activity might work for me?
Being physically active tends to be easier if you choose an activity that you enjoy, and that fits into your daily life. If you force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, you’re much less likely to keep it going and experience benefits to your mental health.
There are lots of different things you can try – not everybody will enjoy or feel comfortable doing all of these activities, so you may need to try a few before you find something you like. You may also find that different things work for you at different times, depending on how you’re feeling.
If you think you might find it hard to get going with any of these things, we have information which may help you get started.
Activities at home
- Try to sit less – if you spend lots of time sitting down, try to get up and move around a bit every hour. If you’re worried you might forget, you could set an alarm to remind yourself.
- Chair-based exercises – if you have mobility problems, a physical condition, or find it difficult spending time out of a chair, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has activity routines inclusive of people with disabilities, that include seated exercises.
- Play an active computer game – there are a few different gaming consoles you could try which involve actively moving your body while playing computer games.
- Do exercises or stretches at home – you could try an exercise CD or DVD, or look for exercise videos online.
- Do an online activity programme – there are lots of free, online exercise regimes designed for you to try at home, including everything from chair-based exercises to yoga and cardio workouts.
- Do active household chores, like hoovering, tidying or DIY.
- Include more activity in your day-to-day routine – run up the stairs instead of walking, carry your bags of shopping in one at a time or do some gentle stretching while you’re watching TV.
- Dance – put on some music while you’re cooking and dance around your kitchen, or have a mini dance party with your friends or family.
“It calms my mind, it stops me ruminating, it actively lifts my mood and it makes me feel a lot more positive about life.”
Activities out and about
- Walk a bit more – to work, to the shops, or to the end of the road and back.
- Play a game in the park – for example, frisbee, tag or a game of catch.
- Try a new sport, or join a team, group or exercise class – the Hong Kong Public Library website has lots of information about different sports and activities, how to get involved and where you can do them locally. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department also has information about where to find local facilities for a range of different physical activities and sports clubs and programmes.
- Volunteer outdoors – The Green Hub, e-Farm, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, and Hong Kong Dog Rescue all offer outdoor volunteering opportunities.
- Find your local sports centre – sports centres have a range of sports facilities, such as badminton and squash courts, and run exercise classes and groups, such as Zumba and aerobics. They often feel more inclusive than private gyms, and many have discount schemes and childcare facilities. Check the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website to find your nearest centre.
- Try a dance class – from Zumba to swing, ballroom or dancercise.
- Walking or running groups – Hong Kong Hikers puts on walking and hiking events and this article has information about local running groups.
“I’m not the sporty type, but I love walking. It really lifts my mood.”
- Outdoors gyms – some local parks have free outdoors gym equipment you can use. You can find the location of any free outdoor fitness equipment near you.
- Cycling – the GovHK website offers some ideas for cycling routes around Hong Kong and information about safe cycling.
- Adventure gaming apps – some gaming apps are a great opportunity to explore outside.
- A mindful sport, such as yoga, pilates, tai chi.
- Gardening or seated gardening. If you don’t have a garden at home, the The Leisure and Cultural Department website has details of community gardens around Hong Kong.
- Be active in nature – our information on nature and mental health has lots of ideas for getting active outdoors.
- Swimming – the Leisure and Cultural Department has a directory to help you find your local swimming pool and other aquatic facilities.
“Swimming has helped me. The pool is one of my safe places now and I go twice a week. It means that I’m tired at the end of the day so I can sleep much better, and I feel happier about my body.”
Motivation and extra support
- Music – putting music or a podcast on your headphones can help distract, entertain or motivate you while you exercise.
- Programmes and apps, such as the [email protected] project’s activity plan and Couch to 5K, give you step-by-step programmes to follow, include information about how to exercise safely and help keep you motivated.
- Enjoy alone time – being active alone can provide a good way to reflect on how you’re feeling or practise being mindful.
- Online communities – you could check in with other people who are also trying to get more active on an online community. This can help you stay motivated and connect with others in a similar situation.
- Ask for recommendations – some activities are more inclusive than others. Try asking your GP, friends or an online community for recommendations and tips.
- Raise money for charity – many charities, support people who want to do an active challenge, like an organised run or bike ride, and use it as a chance to raise funds and support the charity’s work.
- Exercise with other people – many people find that joining a group or getting active with someone they know – like a friend, family member, colleague or support worker – can be motivating and make a new activity more enjoyable.
“The thought of going to a gym on my own terrified me but I started going to various exercise classes with a friend. The difference it made to my mental health was incredible.”
Disability, mental health and inclusive activities
- Disability inclusive exercise routines – the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website has fitness programmes for people with disabilities, whatever your disability or level of fitness.
- Inclusive gyms – the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has information about sports centres including their accessibility.
- Specific activities for people with disabilities – such as horse riding for the disabled and Sailability’s watersports.
- Ask for a referral to a physical activity scheme – if you have a mental health problem your doctor/GP may be able to refer you to a physical activity programme.