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Get active: tips to help you successfully start exercising regularly

I have been in my role as an RN Specialist working with patients with chronic conditions for almost a year and a half. I talk with almost all of my patients about their current diets as well as their activity level. Many people admit it is hard to be physically active. Some reasons I hear frequently are “I don’t have time,” “I don’t know where to start,” or “I’m too tired at the end of the day.” Many of us know there are great benefits that come from being physically active, but it can be difficult to find the time (and energy) to work out.

Here are some tips to help you become successful:

  • Start small and build over time. For example, if you haven’t been active lately, start out by trying to work out 1-2 days a week. Once you’re able to do that consistently, try adding in another day. Another option would be to start with a short time, maybe 10-15 minutes. After a week or two, increase to 15-20 minutes at a time. To some people this might not sound like a lot, but it’s still a great improvement over not doing any physical activity.
  • Split it up! If it’s too difficult to find 30 minutes at a time to devote to exercise, try doing 10 minutes 2-3 times a day.
  • Find someone to work out with, and help to keep each other motivated.  If you’re competitive, make it into a challenge. You could even come up with a prize for the “winner”!
  • Have you ever heard the saying “Find a job you like and you’ll never ‘work’ another day in your life?”  I think the same is true for exercise – find an activity you enjoy doing and it won’t feel like “work.”  Don’t be afraid to try new things and give them a chance before deciding you don’t like them. I was asked to go snowshoeing for the first time 3-4 years ago. I thought there was no way I would  enjoy it and that I’d fall down all the time. I am so glad I tried it because now it’s one of my favorite winter activities! It’s a great workout plus I have so much fun that I look forward to going and don’t think about it as exercise.
  • Find ways to sneak in extra movement every day. Walk a lap around the entire store before you begin shopping or do a few exercises during commercial breaks while you’re watching TV.

No matter what your current level of exercise is, we can all take small steps to get more active. Regular exercise helps control weight, improves mood,boosts energy and much more. So find an activity you enjoy and get active!

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