Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
What is an Actionset?
If you have decided to get more active, congratulations! Making that decision is an important first step in becoming a healthier person.
Keep these key points in mind:
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Doing an exercise or some other physical activity once isn't so hard. The hard part is making changes in your daily life so that you start moving more—and keep moving more as part of your daily routine.
Jumping in too far too fast doesn't usually work, especially over the long haul.
Starting an exercise program—or any kind of change in the way you live your daily life—is like being on a path. The path leads to success. And there are three steps you have to take first:
Test Your Knowledge
The hardest part about exercising is making it a permanent part of your life.
Your reason for wanting to become more active is really important. Don't do it just because your spouse or boyfriend or parent wants you to. What makes you want to get more active?
It's not easy to make changes. But taking the time now to really think about what will motivate or inspire you will help you stay active for the long term.
Test Your Knowledge
To be successful at making activity a regular part of your life, you have to know why it's important to you.
As we said before, you're not as likely to succeed if you jump in too far too fast. In this section, you'll learn about the steps to follow in setting up an exercise plan.
Set your goals
When you are clear about your reasons for wanting to get active, it's time to set your goals.
What is your long-term goal? A long-term goal is something you want to reach in 6 to 12 months. For example, someone who isn't active at all right now may have a goal of entering an organized 5-kilometer walk in 6 months.
Whatever you choose for your goal, experts recommend doing either of these things to get and stay healthy:1
It's fine to be active in several blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week. And you can choose to do one or both types of activity.
If you decide to aim for these recommendations, what are the short-term goals that will help you get there? Short-term goals are things you want to do tomorrow and the day after.
For example, if you want to build up to walking 30 minutes every day, you might start by walking just 10 minutes a day, a few days a week. After a week, you can set a new goal by adding just a few minutes every day or adding another day to your schedule.
Read more about setting goals.
Here are some quick tips about activity goals:
Pick an activity and prepare for it
For ideas on fitting more activity into your day, see the topic Fitness.
Think about barriers
Take the time to think about what things could get in the way of your success. We call these things barriers. And by thinking about them now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen. Read more about common barriers and what you can do about them.
Here are some tips for dealing with barriers:
Get support—from others and from yourself
The more support you have, the easier it is to exercise.
If your family members tell you that they love how you're getting healthier, you'll probably be motivated to bound up the stairs at work or walk an extra 10 minutes.
And there's more support out there. You can even ask for encouragement. Here are a few things to look for:
You might find a fitness professional at a local health club or in phone listings. When deciding on a fitness professional, ask about how they were trained and what certifications they have. Check into experience and ask for a few references.
Support is everywhere. You just have to look for it.
Test Your Knowledge
Setting your goals is an important first step in forming your exercise plan.
Before you start an exercise program, you need to identify your barriers. This means:
Counting how many doors you need to open to get outside to exercise.
Watching for bumps and potholes as you walk down the street so that you don't trip.
Thinking ahead about what might get in your way as you try to make exercise a regular part of your life.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to plan your exercise program.
Talk with your doctor
If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
If you would like more information on exercising and fitness, the following resources are available:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
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