If you're like many people this time of year, you're making plans to get into shape.
Good for you. Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Exercise reduces your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. It can also lower your bad cholesterol levels, boost your good cholesterol levels, and help you build healthy bones, muscles and joints. And of course, exercise can help you get rid of stress and fit comfortably into your favorite jeans.
But starting or getting back into an exercise routine can be daunting.
Make it easier by following these steps:
Step 1: Set a goal. What do you want to achieve through exercise? Lose weight? Maintain a healthy weight? Reduce your risk for heart disease? Get in better shape? Knowing what motivates you can help you stay focused.
Step 2: Pick a routine to match your goals. Think about the type of exercise that will meet your goals. If you want to lose weight, you need to do aerobic exercise, such as walking or jogging, for at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the best kind of exercise for you.
Step 3: Choose your workout time wisely. Pick the time of day when you have the most energy and enthusiasm. If you enjoy getting up early, start the day with a brisk walk. If you need to unwind after a busy day at work, hit the gym on the way home.
Step. 4: Forgive yourself. Look at a setback as part of the process of making change. If you skip a few workouts, make a plan to simply start again the next day.