How to Start and Stay on the Right Fitness Track
by Elissa Sonnenberg, MSEd
Exercise's rewards have been extensively documented. Exercise is a key factor in preventing and treating conditons such as high blood pressure and has also been shown to help counter many health problems, including heart disease, depression, diabetes, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and stress. Beginning and maintaining a successful fitness routine can be challenging. Your motivation to exercise may begin as a concrete goal of losing a few pounds before a vacation or combating osteoporosis. This may later spin off into incorporating a regular exercising program into your life. Since it’s easy to come up with excuses to avoid exercise, beginning your new healthy habit may require some creativity.
Establishing a Routine
Experts agree that you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to reap exercise’s rewards. You can exercise any time of day, virtually anywhere—in front of the television, at your desk in the middle of the day, even in your backyard.
Some easy-to-maintain workouts grow out of everyday tasks, such as bending, stretching, and lifting while doing housework and yard work. Other opportunities for healthy multi-tasking include:
Keeping Fitness Fresh
Once you’ve settled into a regular exercise regimen, you’ll still need to guard against burnout and boredom.You can break out of an exercise rut without breaking your fitness resolve. Try these tips for motivating yourself to exercise:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Council on Exercise
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology
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.
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