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Just 3 Steps – Starting to Exercise

Strech

Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is just getting started. Here are a few tips on how to start, or reignite, an exercise routine: 

1. Pick something you like to do.

If you don’t like running, you’ll dread getting on the treadmill; if you hate gyms, you’ll find many excuses not to go.  Think about what you do like to do and what makes you feel good. Choose THAT.  It might be going for a walk in your neighborhood, taking a dance class, or getting exercise DVDs to do at home.  If you don’t like the exercise you’re doing, it will be very, very hard to achieve step #2 (which is the most important!).  So, it is important to pick an activity that you will enjoy doing and that will make you feel good about yourself, both mentally and physically.

2. Commit to consistency, not perfection.

The most important part of starting an exercise routine is to be consistent.  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how perfectly you’re doing it; if you can maintain a regular routine, the strength and stamina will come.  The biggest challenge is just getting started.  We are creatures of habit, and inertia is powerful!  So, pick a reasonable routine (maybe walking 20 minutes 4x a week) and do that for two weeks.  Then, when it no longer feels like a challenge to get out the door or go to the gym, start to increase the intensity or vary the activity.

3. Take baby steps and set reasonable goals.

Many of us set unrealistic exercise goals and plan routines that are difficult to achieve and almost impossible to maintain. That’s why so many of us are frequently starting to exercise instead of continuing to exercise.  Think carefully about what will work with your interests, schedule and lifestyle, and start there.  If that doesn’t work, reassess; if it does, think about increasing the intensity or the length of time little by little.  Holding on to unrealistic expectations will make exercising stressful, which will make it more likely that you will stop (and then have to start all over again!). 

 

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