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Tips to Help Stick to Your Exercise Routine

Here are some tips on how to create your exercise plan and make it part of your routine.

Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity. It’s also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity may be appropriate for you.

Start with small steps

Instead of saying, "I'm going to exercise every day," work your way up slowly. You could start with 5 minutes every other day. Then slowly increase your time and work your way up to being active 5 times a week.

How do you keep a good thing going?

See if you can turn it into a habit. People may be more likely to maintain a good physical-activity routine if they:

  • Ask for support: Let your doctor, family, and friends know about your plans
  • Feel in control: It’s important that you pick your goals and activities, not someone else
  • Keep it safe: Always check with your doctor. Be sure you do not do anything that increases your risk for injury
  • Include rewards: Reward yourself often. It’s great for motivation

Fitting activity into everyday life

Some people do better with physical activity when they make it part of their everyday life. To do this, consider these 8 tips:

  • At work, take frequent activity breaks. Get up, stretch, walk around the building once or twice
  • Instead of eating that extra snack, take a quick stroll around the neighborhood, or run an errand on foot
  • Walk at a more vigorous pace than usual once or twice a week
  • Kid around. Play catch in the backyard, try a hula hoop, or jump rope
  • Make a habit of parking farther away from the office or mall and walk the distance instead
  • Use the stairs whenever possible, not the escalator or elevator
  • Get in the habit of taking family walks in the evening after work
  • Keep moving while you watch TV. Pedal a stationary bike or keep dumbbells handy and use them during commercials
  • If you’re out of town, pack comfortable walking shoes. Most hotels can recommend good walking routes in the neighborhood

Get great fitness tips in the “How Active Are You?” guide.

Stay focused on your fitness goals by downloading the 4-Week Activity Planner.