5 Steps to Start Exercising

Summer’s here! It’s a time that a lot of people get more activity with travel or children out of school. So I’m going to share a few tips that I’ve used in implementing a consistent exercise routine. In the last few years, I’ve found that exercising at home has been working best for me. I love the convenience of just getting up, walking downstairs and getting my sweat on in the living room.

Your set of circumstances is probably different so rather than focus on what I do, I’ve compiled this list of tips that have worked for me over the years.

1. What is your motivation?

Do you want to have more energy? Are you looking to change your health trajectory? Do you need an outlet to deal a life trauma? Your goal or reason needs to motivate you to get out of bed and out of your comfort zone. It needs to be bigger than wanting to fit into a certain item of clothing or looking a certain way. It needs to get you moving even when you don’t want to.

2. Make a plan.

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to get more exercise, you need to make a plan that is realistic. If you aren’t doing any exercise, start by walking to school or work twice a week. Take two yoga classes a week for 3 weeks and then add another on the fourth week, etc. Maybe it’s run or walk 1 mile, twice a week. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, just make it and be sure to include a milestone for increasing that level of activity in a 3-4 weeks time.

3. Schedule your health.

Find a time, any time, that you can dedicate to getting your exercise and schedule it. If you are new to exercising, try to make it happen alongside something you already have to do every day. It could be walking or bicycling your children to school or work if you normally drive. It could be taking a yoga or other fitness class during your lunch break. It could be lacing up your sneakers and going for a run or walk before or after work.

4. Be accountable.

Once you’ve determined why you want to be more active, and you’ve scheduled time now you need to do it. I’m pretty internally motivated so for me just checking off on a calendar that I did my daily workout is enough. I know that doesn’t work for everyone. Luckily there are a lot of other ways, join an online or social community such as MyFitnessPal or Runkeeper. Get a fitness tracker of some sort to log your steps (just logging your steps and making a goal to get 10,000/day can be a starting point). Find a friend who is similarly motivated.

5. Have a back-up plan.

There will be days when you planned to go for a walk and it rains, you woke up with a sore throat, you needed to be available for a work meeting outside your normal working hours, etc. Don’t give yourself an easy excuse. Have a bunch of other options in your back pocket for days when things don’t go according to plan. Some of mine include, doing yoga for low energy or sick days, using a YouTube fitness video when I can’t get outside, walking my kids to school if my morning doesn’t go according to plan.

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