7 Tips for Getting and Staying Active

Everyone knows that physical activity is important for good health, yet many still don’t make exercise a priority. Getting started can seem daunting, but these tips can help you get active and stay active so that you can reap the many rewards that come from exercise.

Keep the Benefits in Mind

Everyone has different reasons for exercising. Some do it with a weight loss goal in mind while others just simply enjoy it. Consider the benefits of exercise and how they relate to you and your life. Those with a family history or other risk factors of heart disease or cancer may find a reduced risk of disease motivating. Those under a lot of stress can quickly discover that exercise lowers stress and improves mood. And a person who suffers from joint pain and stiffness can use exercise as a way to improve their symptoms. Keeping the benefits of exercise in mind and how they apply to you can make getting active and staying active easier.

Get an Exercise Buddy

Making the commitment to work out with a partner or group helps to keep you accountable and motivated, while also helping to make exercise fun. Studies have found that those who work out with a partner are more likely to stick to their fitness program. It’s also been shown that the exercise habits of others can have a positive influence. Find someone with similar fitness goals to work out with for better results.

Set Goals

Setting goals when it comes to your activity is a great way to stay motivated. It gives you direction and keeps you focused so that you’re more likely to stay on track. For someone just starting out, fitness goals can focus on things like increasing the amount of repetitions of an exercise or working up to a certain speed or distance when walking or running. Goals are a great way to track your progress. Goals show you where you are and where you want to be, motivating you to get there. Set realistic goals, challenging yourself more and more as you move onto the next. There are great fitness trackers and apps that can help you track and achieve your goals too.

Choose Activities that You Enjoy

You don’t need to run a marathon or pump serious iron—unless you want to, of course. Choosing activities that you enjoy will make it easier for you to stay active for the long haul. If you don’t enjoy working out in a gym or doing an exercise video, there are plenty of other activities to get you moving, such as dancing, swimming or even joining a sports league.

Make It a Habit

Physical activity should be a part of your daily routine. Schedule it in and stick to it. They say it takes just three weeks to form a habit, so stick to it for a few weeks and see how quickly it becomes a regular part of your day just like brushing your teeth. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your daily routine, find ways to make it easier, such as using free weights and workout DVDs at home before getting ready for work or while the baby is napping if there’s no time to make it to the gym. Nike is onto something with their tagline.  Just do it.

Reward Yourself

Though being active in itself is very rewarding, treating yourself for a job well done and a goal met can be motivating. Avoid the common mistake of rewarding yourself with a “cheat day” of binging on unhealthy foods or time off from activity as these things can backfire and make it harder to get back on track. Instead, reward yourself with a new piece of workout clothing or a massage.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

You don’t want to make a habit of falling off track, but life happens and sometimes things get in the way of doing the things we should. Don’t let a bump in the road sideline you from your fitness goals. Avoid beating yourself and focusing on negative feelings when you miss a workout and move forward to help you get back into your routine.

The benefits of getting and staying active are many. Speak to your doctor before starting to exercise if you have health issues. Remember to start slow and enjoy yourself.