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What's keeping you from exercising?

Most of us know that we should be getting more exercise. But, busy schedules and other roadblocks can come between us and our dreams of getting – and staying – fit. If you'd like to be more active, start by talking with your doctor to find out how much and what types of activity are right for you. Then, check out these common exercise barriers and some solutions that can help you get started and keep going.

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Too risky

Exercise is safe for most – including older adults and many people with chronic conditions – with the right precautions. If you're concerned about your health, talk with your doctor first. Often, the key is to start slowly and gradually. For instance, try 10-minute intervals when you get started. Then, increase intensity. At first, choose moderate-intensity activities such as walking, water aerobics or biking at an easy speed. Consider exercising with a friend or family member for safety and companionship.

Health condition

If you have a chronic disease such as heart failure, diabetes, or arthritis, you can often still be active. In fact, with your doctor's permission, exercise may help improve your condition. Exercise can help you gain strength and endurance, plus improve your mood and quality of life. Check with your doctor, first, to learn what signs and symptoms to watch for that may mean your condition is getting worse. And find out what to do if you have any of these while you are exercising. Also, ask your doctor how active you should be and if there are any specific activities you should avoid.

No time

It's a busy world. But, don't let that stop you from squeezing in some exercise. Consider these tips to create more time for physical activity:

  • Get up a half hour earlier. Think of it as only 30 short minutes that can make a big difference.
  • Use part of your lunch break to take a brisk walk.
  • Trade out some tube time in the evening for exercise. When you watch TV, try some stretches or sit-ups during the commercials.

Too tired

After a long day, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. However, it may be just what you need to boost your energy level and improve your mood. You might try taking the dog for a run, or renting an exercise video. Need a little extra motivation? Consider training for a charity event. Think of it as giving back to others while doing something great for yourself. But, no matter how you exercise, try not to do it too close to your bedtime – it may disrupt your sleep.

Too boring

Even your favorite activities can become tedious after a while. Tired of your exercise playlist? Spice up your workout with some new music, or try listening to an audiobook for a change of pace. Consider going to the gym with a friend and using your treadmill time to chat it up.

If you just can't face the same old workout, one option is jogging around your neighborhood. or, consider kicking the soccer ball around with the kids.

Too expensive

Home exercise gear or a gym membership can be expensive. But, fitness is affordable. For instance, you might try putting on a pair of sturdy sneakers and walking around the park or through the mall. For safety's sake, be aware of your surroundings and wear bright or reflective clothing when out at night.

Other options may be available at a local recreation or community center. Or, visit the public library and check out new fitness videos each week.

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