Finding the motivation to start a fitness program can be challenging for most of us. We all have excuses to avoid any kind of physical exertion, unless we get used to the great feeling it gives in the end.
Overweight people, even when wanting to get in better shape, can easily find even more excuses to avoid training. But forget about those and go for the best solution: Start today, and keep it going.
How do I get started?
TO start being more active, try these tips:
|Active at any size|
|Where to work out|
- Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
- Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity—even walking. Walk slowly for the first few minutes.
- Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
- Think about your barriers to being active. Then try to come up with creative ways to solve them. The following examples may help you overcome barriers.
|Barrier 1: I don't have enough time!|
|Solution: Be active for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Sit less. Try to walk more while doing your errands, or schedule lunchtime workouts to boost your overall activity. Plan ahead and be creative!|
|Barrier 2: I feel self-conscious when I'm active.|
|Solution: Be active at home while doing household chores and find ways to move more during your day-to-day activities. Try walking with a group of friends with whom you feel comfortable.|
|Barrier 3: I'm worried about my health or injury.|
|Solution: You might feel better if you talk to a health care professional first. Find a fitness provider to guide you, or sign up for a class so you feel safe. Remember that activity does not have to be difficult. Gentle activity is good, too.|
|Barrier 4: I just don't like exercise.|
|Solution: Good news! You do not have to run or do push-ups to get the benefits of being physically active. Try dancing to the radio, walking outdoors, or being active with friends to spice up things.|
|Barrier 5: I can't stay motivated!|
|Solution: Try to add variety to your activities and rely on friends to stay focused on being active. Try activity videos for extra encouragement. Set realistic goals, track back your progress, and be sure to celebrate your achievements.|
If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance. Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!
How do I continue to be active?
TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:
- Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 to 10 minutes, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal should be to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. You can accumulate your physical activity in shorter segments of 10 minutes or more. An example of a long-term goal is to walk briskly on 5 days of the week by the end of 6 months.
- Set rewards. Whether your goal was to be active for 15 minutes a day, to walk farther than you did last week, or simply to stay positive, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Some ideas for rewards include a new CD to motivate you, new walking shoes, or a new outfit.
- Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on and help you stick with it.
- Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can make copies of the blank journal at the end of this booklet to keep track of your efforts.
- Build up to it. Any physical activity is better than none, so start where you can and gradually increase the amount. The Government recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Do not worry if that sounds like a lot! It does not have to be done all at once. Try breaking this into three 10-minute slots. A few minutes of activity here and there can really add up.
- Have fun! Try different activities to find the ones you really enjoy.
Useful Web Links
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