Ban Boredom

One of the most common reasons people quit exercising is that it becomes boring. It is easy to get in a rut and do the same walk past the same houses at the same time every single night after dinner. Be intentional about varying your routine from time to time. Choose a different route; even better, corral a friend or your spouse to accompany you. You’ll both feel better, and getting some one-on-one time is bound to be good for your relationship, too.

Try Something New

Maybe salsa dancing isn’t for you, but Pilates or tai chi might be. How will you know if you don’t try? Most fitness facilities will allow you to try a few classes for free or at a reduced rate for a few weeks. Use the opportunity to broaden your horizons.

No way you’re willing to look like you don’t know what you’re doing? Then check out the hundreds of exercise videos and DVDs available online and in retail stores. From stretching to kickboxing, you can find the video that’s right for your fitness level to do in the privacy of your home.

Essential

If you have never exercised regularly, getting started can seem overwhelming. Look for ways to incorporate it into your life. Try making it a rule that you can’t check your e-mail until you have walked for 15 minutes. The goal is to weave it into your life as seamlessly as brushing your teeth.

Use this time as an opportunity to try something you have always wanted to do. Want to create a beautiful rose garden? Take up gardening or work on your lawn. Want to be a better mom or grandfather? Get outside and play catch with your child. Need a little extra love in your life? Get a puppy and give it a brisk walk daily. Love watching the reality dance shows? Take dancing lessons and give your partner a spin.

Get a New Attitude

Is it possible to seriously exercise with a digestive disorder?

Absolutely—ask Vicky Martini, who has had Crohn’s, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease for 20 years. She’s endured multiple surgeries and had sixteen feet of her small intestine removed. Though the disease creates obstacles in eating and digesting food, it hasn’t stopped her from exercising. In fact, she runs half-marathons regularly.

There was a reason you weren’t exercising before. You decided it was boring, or you didn’t have time, or it wasn’t important. For whatever reason, you’ve changed your mind. Make sure your attitude follows. The mindset with which you approach exercise will play a big role in how successful you are.

Exercise is hard, and it’s sometimes boring. But with every stretch, every step, every stroke, you are creating a longer, healthier life for yourself. Decide now to approach your workouts with a positive attitude.

Set Goals

It feels good to set new goals and reach them. Whether you want to exercise four times a week for 30 minutes a day or walk a mile in 15 minutes, setting goals can keep you motivated. The only caveat—set goals that are reasonable and attainable. Don’t set yourself up to fail. For example, give yourself six months to reach a big goal and celebrate big when you get there.

Essential

If you are walking, one easy way to set goals is to buy an inexpensive pedometer. Your goals can vary from a certain number of steps per day, or week, or a certain number of steps within 30 minutes, for example.

Reward Yourself

Even if it’s a pat on the back, tell yourself what a fantastic job you’re doing. Once you can walk a 20-minute mile, for example, reward yourself with new workout gear or even a pedicure. Be your own best cheerleader! Beginning to exercise is no small feat and every step you take in the right direction is a step toward feeling better and living longer.

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