With the summer on, I decided to treat myself to an activity monitor worn on the wrist. This keeps a record of how many steps I walk per day and how many calories I burnt, in addition to keeping track of how many hours I sleep each night.

Wearing it certainly gives me the incentive to get up from my desk and either go to the gym or for a walk — and I am certainly more accountable now to myself for how much exercise I do per day. This works for me, but what about you?

Being inactive is a major health risk, and the British Heart Foundation maintains that every seven minutes someone in the UK dies from a heart attack. If you are not active, you are more likely to have a heart attack than someone who is active.

We are told by the Dubai Health Authority that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the emirate, with one in every five deaths being attributable to this.

Being more active now can make an immediate impact on your health, improve the quality of life and change how you feel both physically and mentally. It is good to have more energy, feel less stressed or anxious and have the added bonus of getting your body into shape.

We all know how to cover up our stomachs with loose clothing, but we cannot hide from ourselves that we are eating badly and are overweight.

Once you get into a fitness regime, the chances are that you will sleep more soundly, improve concentration and achieve a greater sense of achievement for doing something to improve your personal sense of well-being. After all, this is one activity that you can’t delegate out to someone else — this is purely and simply down to you.

Let us not also forget that being active will help prevent illness in the longer term by helping to prevent coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity — to name but a few.

Think about what gets in the way of you going from ‘inactive’ to ‘active’. Do these sound familiar to you — “I’m too tired”; “I’ve no time”; “I’m overweight and embarrassed to exercise”?

It is extraordinary how many people tell me that the weather is a factor in not keeping to an exercise regime. Why not try turning the negative into a positive and see what difference it can make to you?

Now is as good a time to start as any. Set yourself realistic short-term goals and reward yourself when you achieve them (and not with a bar of chocolate!). Take it easy when you begin by starting with just 30 minutes of activity and then gradually build up to at least 45 minutes a day, three times a week.

Set Smart Goals

* Be Specific

What exactly do you want to achieve? Don’t make it too general like: ‘I want to be more active’. Say something like ‘I’m going to go to the gym every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday’.

* Measurable

Book 30 minutes to take a walk at lunchtime

* Achievable

Your goals must be realistic. If 30 minutes is too long, then make it 20 minutes. You want a success story here in order to achieve the ‘feel good’ factor when you have finished.

* Relevant

Choose activities that you enjoy and you don’t have to be ‘sporty’ to be active. Dancing, gardening, playing with your children and housework all count. Driving your new car or drinking coffee with friends, don’t!

* Targets

Give yourself a deadline for when you want to reach your goal, and put it in your schedule so that you can check your progress regularly.

Don’t think of your everyday schedule and being active as being separate from one another. You need to make exercise an activity that is an integral part of your normal routine.

When is it a good time to start making physical activity a daily habit? There is only one answer to that question — Today!

Key points

* Physical activity feels good, and is good.

* Exercise helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.

* Being physical is being sensible.

— The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops.