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Getting Started

Want to know where to begin? For starters, just think about opportunities to increase your physical activity when you go about your daily business. Instead of putting off the trip upstairs until you have more than one reason to go up there, go up any time an opportunity presents itself. In stores or at work, pretend the elevator doesn't exist. And why wait for the "best" available parking space when you could park away from the crowds and take a few extra steps to the building? If you think you don't have time for these changes, think again. Not taking a few extra minutes now may actually shave years off your life.

Here are some simple tips to get started, especially if it's been a while since you've exercised:

  • Talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
  • Start slowly – don't overdo it.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after you exercise.
  • Ask a friend to exercise with you to help keep you motivated.
  • Try to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine.

Exercise is so important for a number of reasons. Your body was designed to be used. Like any fine tool or instrument, it can get rusty or off-key if it just sits around, but when it's regularly tuned up, it gives you optimal performance. Fitness helps you to look and feel good. And let's face it. When you are not fit, it's hard to feel good about yourself.

For fitness or weight loss

Before you start any fitness program, talk to your doctor about what activity is right for you. To get fit and lose weight, keep these points in mind:

  • Concentrate on aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging and cycling.
  • Ease into your workout routine. If you can only be active for 10 minutes at a time at first, that's fine. Add another minute every one or two workouts. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. That can break down to 5, 30-minute sessions. Need to break it down even more? You can workout for as little as 10 minutes at a time and still reap the benefits.
  • Add in muscle-strengthening exercises. Strength train at least two times per week. You can use weights or your own body weight for resistance. Examples include sit-ups, push-ups and lunges.
  • Choose an exercise that you enjoy. Change your workout from time to time to prevent boredom and relapse.

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