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Get Moving: Tips
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Let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated, difficult to find the time to exercise and painful to go through with a program. For many women, the thought of physical activities such as jogging, walking and weight lifting, isn’t invigorating at all. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having to engage in 30 minutes of exercise a day, take these steps and see if you can’t find some way to make the exercise component a fun aspect of your day.

  1. Consult your healthcare provider. Especially if you’re over 50 or have had previous health concerns, it’s very important to consult your healthcare provider about your plans to start exercising. He or she will be able to talk to you about any health concerns you might want to consider before exercising, and activities you should avoid, and what to do if something goes wrong. If done right, exercise can be safe—but sometimes the wrong type of exercise or too much strain can cause health problems and complications that would be avoided by the advice of a healthcare professional who knows you.
  2. Variety. Get variety in your life. Nobody ever said that exercise had to mean training for a marathon or spending half an hour sweating on a treadmill, like a hamster. There are tons of fun, and extremely good-for-you exercise options to explore. Swimming and water work-outs are very beneficial for your health. Not only does water exercise go easier on your muscles and your bones, but it also yields noticeable and significant health results. If you can’t swim, try hiking. Check out the wooded areas around your home, or take a weekend trip, and go for a hike. Or take up walking—walking has the same health benefits as running, with less strain on your joints and bones. Your options don’t end there. You can find a sport you’re interested in, such as tennis, and take some lessons or join a league. Check out your local community center and gyms to see if any dance classes or yoga courses are offered—two great new hobbies. If you can’t decide on one option, that’s great. Getting variety in your exercise regimen is called cross-training, and you get the benefit of working out many different areas of your body, and you have less of a chance of getting bored.
  3. Start small. If you lead a sedentary life now, it’s recommended that you only begin exercising for 10-15 minutes until you can gradually work up to a more lengthy, 30-minute workout. The good news is that even starting out with a small amount of exercise will have beneficial effects on your health. You might notice that you feel better about yourself, have reduced stress levels or that you can take a flight of stairs easier than before you started. These are all great signs that mean you might be able to up your activity level—and before you know it, you’ll be seeing even more changes including the ability to exercise for longer.
  4. Grab a friend. It’s been said that exercising with a friend is great for motivation and increases your chances of sticking with a program and seeing results. A friend can make exercising more fun. You can chat while you walk, push each other when running or support each other when weight training. Try to find a friend who will motivate you to be better, and do the same for her. If you prefer to work out alone, that’s fine, too. You might want to invest in a way to listen to music while you exercise, to keep you in your zone and make the workout that much more enjoyable.
  5. Stay positive. Don’t get down on yourself if you try to start exercising and you quickly realize you’re out of shape. If you compare yourself to others, or to yourself at an earlier, more fit, stage in your life, you’ll only feel frustrated. Instead, look to your own personal goals for motivation. Remember that more women are out of shape than in shape. If you’re out there working toward a goal, then you’re on the right track. Instead of getting down on yourself for not being fast or strong enough, be proud of yourself for making the effort and toughing it out.
  6. Establish a schedule. Draw up a weekly schedule that includes variety, strenuous times and relaxed workout times, as well as time off. Put this schedule somewhere that you can see. And stick to it. Once you keep this schedule up for a few months, you could make a new schedule that is more challenging, or different, and see if you can stick to that one, too. Remember to include rest days, but not too many. For some women, weight management exercise might have to happen every day. But sometimes one day of rest after a few days of heavy exercising can be just as good for your health as keeping up the pace.
  7. Keep it up. And whatever you do, stick to your program. Don’t stop for a few months around the holidays or get sidetracked. Make sure that if you are committed to exercise, you’re ready to include it in your life for good.