Now you're ready for action. As you begin your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:
- Start slowly and build up gradually. Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down with easy walking or gentle stretching. Then speed up to a pace you can continue for five to 10 minutes without getting overly tired. If you can't carry on a conversation while you exercise, you're probably pushing too hard. As your stamina improves, increase the amount of time you exercise by one to five minutes per session. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Break things up if you have to. You don't have to do all your exercise at one time. Shorter but more frequent sessions have aerobic benefits, too. Ten minutes of exercise three times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session.
- Be creative. Maybe your workout routine includes various activities, such as walking, bicycling or rowing. But don't stop there. Take a weekend hike with your family or spend an evening dancing at the bar.
- Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
- Be flexible. If you're not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.