Ten Tips to Starting (and Sticking with) an Exercise Routine

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1. Start slowly and add a little more over time

Many people start out by trying to do too much too quickly. If you’re not currently exercising, try to do 10-20 minutes three times per week. Add a few minutes each week to build up to 30 minutes. Next try to add another day.

2. Get someone to join you

You are much less likely to skip a workout if you arrange to do it with someone else.

3. Vary your routine

Decrease your risk of injury and boredom by doing different activities.

4. Make exercise fun

Plan your walking route to see things that interest you. Listen to music, audio books, or watch TV while you exercise.

5. Keep an activity journal

This is a great way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.

6. Try something new

Not everyone likes the same kind of exercise. Try and find an activity that you enjoy doing.

7. Make exercise a habit

Try to choose a regular time for exercise. Make an appointment with yourself and block it out on your schedule. Research shows that it takes at least three months of doing something to form a habit.

8. Make exercise a priority

Think about your reasons for wanting to become more active. You have to believe something is important in order to make it happen.

9. Knock down your barriers to exercise.

Think about what obstacles have kept you from being active in the past and strategize solutions to solve those problems.

10. Every little bit helps

Try to incorporate more activity into your everyday life. Take a walk at lunch or do errands by bicycle. Take the stairs. Walk to your co-workers desk to communicate.  Play outside with your kids or dog. Work in the yard.

Information provided by Julie W. Allen, M.A., Exercise Physiologist, University Hospitals