5 easy ways to start getting fit

Getting started can be the hardest part. You're not sure where to begin or what to do. Or how to get into the shape you want to be in. Magazines may have the workout of the week, but don't start with step one.

Exercise recommendations from the Mayo Clinic include:
  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week
  • Whole body strength training at least twice per week

Shoot for 30 minutes of activity per day.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can get started moving without the confusion. Start small with ten minutes of aerobic activity. As you get more confident exercising regularly, start adding time. Maybe add 5 minutes at a time and soon you'll be active 30 minutes per day!

1. Go for a walk.

Get up, get out, and walk. You can hop n a treadmill, walk around the block, or take a jaunt at work. Being moving throughout the day will help you feel less tired, tense, and immobile. While you can't always get outside, remember to move about every hour even if it's a lap around the building.

2. Go for a swim.

Your local YMCA, gym, or apartment complex should have a pool. It doesn't have to be an Olympic sized lap pool, just get started swimming. If you prefer to be in a larger group, water aerobics classes keep you motivated and enjoying yourself.

3. Take a bike ride.

If you have a bike, drive or bike over to a park nearby. Riding outside during sunny or calm weather is a great way to work out and move toward your fitness goals. If you prefer riding inside, a stationary bike is an effective alternative to outdoor cycling.

4. Start running.

Running is a higher impact activity than walking, swimming, or cycling, but it can also increase the aerobic capacity. By starting small, you can go from couch to 5K.

5. Join a recreational team.

Find a local league and join a team. Basketball, soccer, squash, racquetball, volleyball, or any other sport will help energize you for aerobic activity. Joining a group activity will make exercise more likely to stick and create a social bonding experience.

Some tips when starting exercise:

  • Start small. Begin with a smaller amount of time, or a less intense activity to form the habit of exercise.
  • Set goals. Have an idea of what you want to accomplish or achieve. Maybe sign up for a fitness event or run to keep you motivated.
  • Don't give up! Moving after being sedentary for longer periods of time can make exercise seem like an obstacle, but it's a necessary part of health and wellness.
  • Grab a buddy. People that exercise with a partner or friend are more likely to continue exercising. The Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University found that couples that worked out together had a 6.3% dropout rate compared to 43% for couples who worked out separately.
  • Find someone to keep you accountable to your goals. Stanford University found that people who received a phone call every two weeks about their fitness regimen increased the exercise participants did by 78%.
*Note: Please make sure that if you have any health conditions or concerns that you clear exercise with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

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