You want to be more active, and you’ve already talked to your doctor about the types of exercise and physical activity that are right for you. But now you’re wondering how to get started. How can you fit more activity into your lifestyle and keep going every day?
Here are three keys to your exercise success:
1. Include physical activity in your everyday life. If you want to experience all the health benefits of exercise, it’s important to do it regularly. Make it a priority. Think of ways to include physical activities throughout your day, such as in the morning before your schedule gets too busy.
Try to find ways to make physical activity easy, interesting, and fun. Think of activities that you enjoy and find appealing. If you like the outdoors, try biking, swimming or gardening. To add a social twist, invite a friend to become your “exercise buddy” — the two of you could play tennis or take a yoga class together.
Another great way to incorporate exercise into your daily life is to try activities that might not seem like exercise.
- Do some arm curls with a carton of milk or a 1-pound can while putting groceries away.
- Walk to a coworker’s office instead of calling or e-mailing.
- Park at the far end of the lot and walk briskly to the store.
2. Try all four types of exercise. When you start an exercise routine, it can be easy to fall into a rut of doing the same activities every day. But, if you mix it up with lots of different activities, you are more likely to stick with the habit over time without getting bored. The four types to try are:
3. Plan for breaks in the routine. Your days aren’t all alike, and that means that sometimes you will miss a few days of physical activity. Vacations, visits from grandchildren, or unexpected events can interrupt your exercise routine. But don’t get discouraged. You can get back on track!
- Try to remember the reasons you started exercising and the goals you set for yourself.
- Consider asking family or friends to help by encouraging you or exercising with you.
- Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Try something comfortable or easier if you don’t like an activity you’ve started.
- Be flexible. If your grandchildren are visiting, schedule your exercise break during their naptime, or take them with you when you go for a walk.
This material is provided by Go4Life, the exercise and physical activity campaign for adults over 50 from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.