OK, maybe it was so long ago that the last time you worked up a sweat, canvas sandshoes were the active footwear of choice and mobile music players weren't even invented?
If so, chances are it's more than the best workout playlists and the dizzy array of psychedelic sports shoe options troubling your mind.
There are more fundamental questions like, just how does someone who hasn't exercised for years get moving in a way that's enjoyable, sustainable, and dare you mention, safe?
The good news is almost always, however long you've been inactive, and whatever your age or health status, some type of exercise will be possible.
You may need to get advice that's tailored to your particular needs, but it's never too late to start, says exercise physiologist Carly Ryan, spokeswoman for Exercise and Sports Science Australia.
"The risk of doing serious damage to yourself with exercise is actually pretty low, so long as you start nice and slow and step it up gradually," Ms Ryan said.
Even so, if you're new to exercise or coming back to it after a period of inactivity, there are a few things you should do before you sprint out the door.
- One of the safest ways to get started is to try brisk walking (or some other low-impact activity) for bouts of 10 minutes
- Aim for a pace where your breathing and heart rate are elevated but you can still talk in sentences. This is called moderate intensity
- Then try building up from one bout of 10 minutes a day to two bouts of 10 minutes (or 10 minutes plus five minutes). You can do it in one long block or two shorter blocks at different times in the day
- Start doing this every second day and work your way up. If 10 minutes a day seems too easy, start with longer, but you should still move up gradually. You can step up the time, intensity or both if you can handle it
- Your goal is to get to 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week
- Including some higher-intensity exercise (where your heart and breathing rate mean you can speak only a few words at a time) will bring extra health benefits once your body is fit and strong enough to do it
First up, it's recommended you take a few minutes to test yourself for any red flags that might suggest exercise could pose some health risks.
You can do this by filling out a seven-point questionnaire that makes up the first stage of the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System. The purpose of this is to work out if seeing a doctor before you get active is likely to be necessary or useful.
The questionnaire relates to symptoms suggesting heart conditions, asthma, diabetes, and problems with muscles, joints and bones.
If your answers to the seven questions in the first stage give you the all clear, then you're good to go.
But you can always see your GP if you prefer, and some experts suggest anyone over 40 should.
If you don't get the all clear from the questionnaire, don't give up.
Ms Ryan says with tailored advice, those who can exercise include people in their 80s and 90s, those who are obese, those with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, arthritis and pretty much any other health condition you can think of.
Yikes. No excuses.
It's a good idea to set some goals for what you want to achieve to help motivate you, keep you on track and help you monitor your progress.
If you want to get fit or lose weight, you'll probably want to emphasise cardio workouts — that is exercise that gets your heart and breathing rate up.
But if you're more concerned with getting stronger, you might focus more on training involving weights, machines or working against the resistance of your own body by doing lunges, push-ups and so on.
Most exercise professionals suggest you aim for a mix of both strength training and cardio components, but the balance depends on your goals.
You should also think about what kind of exercise you'll enjoy (and try different things to find out), because if you don't enjoy it, you'll almost certainly not stick at it, Ms Ryan says.
For ideas, check out ABC Health & Wellbeing's Exercise Guide.
Ms Ryan adds you're more likely to succeed if you take the time beforehand to ask yourself what you want to get out of being active, what benefits you can look forward to, and what barriers you're likely to encounter (with backup plans for when you meet the road blocks).
Despite all those boot camps you see with trainers yelling, "Harder! Faster!", the most important thing to keep in mind when you're starting out is to go slow and gradually step it up, Ms Ryan says.
"It's definitely better to err on the side of being a bit conservative. If you do too much too soon, it's pretty hard to recover from.
"The body takes a solid six-to-eight weeks to get used to activity. It also takes six-to-eight weeks to form a habit. So those two things tie together quite nicely."
While walking is a good starting activity most people can do, you can also swim, cycle, kick a ball around with your kids, or do gardening or housework.
The key is to aim to use major muscles like your legs and arms and to get your heart and breathing rate up for blocks of ideally 10 minutes at a time. But anything is better than nothing.
If you'd like some expert input, you could get help from your doctor, a physiotherapist, a registered personal trainer or an accredited exercise scientist or exercise physiologist.
Physiotherapists are especially good if you've had any niggling injuries you're concerned about.
You can search for an exercise scientist or exercise physiologist in your area — both are university trained in prescribing exercise for individuals, but exercise physiologists specialise in people with health conditions.
The average cost of a first consultation is $60 to $100 for between 30 and 60 minutes, Ms Ryan says. This may include ideas for exercise you could then go and try on your own.
If you have a chronic health condition, you may be eligible for five sessions per calendar year with an exercise physiologist at a reduced rate subsidised by Medicare. See your GP for more information.
A word on gyms
Research has shown while new gym memberships often peak in January, attendance rates drop off significantly by as early as February.
Paying a large amount of money up front is not a good way of ensuring you will commit to regular exercise.
Gyms, however, can be great because they're air-conditioned, have a good range of exercise machines (with staff to ask for help) and usually offer a variety of group classes, which can be fun and motivating.
Shorter gym memberships (say a few months), or paying to visit casually, can also be good options, Ms Ryan says.
The ultimate goal is to find activities you can enjoy, and to do them regularly — not just to meet your immediate goal, but for your whole life.
Heck, it might even be worth buying a pair of psychedelic sports shoes.