How to Start and Stay on the Right Fitness Track
- Start slowly. Since any exercise is better than no exercise, it doesn’t matter how small your first steps are. For example, two five-minute walks a week may be all you feel comfortable with at first.
- Read success stories. Feed your need for inspiration by seeing how regular exercise truly changes lives.
- Set specific, realistic goals.
- Give yourself the time. Make “exercise” an entry on your daily “to do” list.
- Don’t expect to be perfect. Try not to punish yourself for missing a day’s routine.
- Shop for toys. Find a fun new piece of exercise equipment, such as a heart-rate monitor or pedometer, to help inspire your workout.
- Get support. Supportive, non-judgmental family members, friends, and coworkers can be powerful, creative allies in your quest for fitness and better health.
Establishing a Routine
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator.
- Walk to a coworker’s office instead of emailing or telephoning.
- Recruit an office buddy to take a power walk at lunch.
- Stand up whenever you talk on the phone.
- Walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike while watching television.
- Walk or ride your bike to the store instead of driving.
- Do simple stretches at your desk or while watching television.
- Plan a vacation that includes physical activities such as biking, hiking, or swimming.
Keeping Fitness Fresh
- Keep a diary. Fill it with inspiring advice and a clear record of your accomplishments.
- Find a partner or a support group. Buddy systems work well because you’re less likely to disappoint someone other than yourself.
- Listen to music to motivate your muscles.
- Spice up your routine. Vary your workout’s intensity; try a new sport or use different exercise equipment.
- Reward yourself. Do something good for yourself—a bubble bath, dinner at your favorite restaurant, a new outfit—when you meet specific exercise goals.
- Take a break. If you need to scale back your routine, don’t let it dampen your determination. Do your best to get back on the exercise track quickly.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca
Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surgeon General’s report on physical activity and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/. Accessed May 2003.
National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/. Accessed May 2003.
National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nof.org/. Accessed May 2003.