Our 5 top fitness tips for 2019.

Ideas to build habits for a healthier weight and year.

Are you aiming to get fitter and slimmer in the new year? Taking a fresh approach to exercise may help you reach that goal.*

Maybe you've started down this get-fit path in years past, only to run out of steam. We get that. So to help, here are 5 expert tips for creating fitness habits that have lasting power.

1. Find the fun.

You're more likely to stick with activities you truly enjoy. So try different things — whether it's cycling, hiking or showing your moves in dance class — to learn what you love.

Next: Invite friends, co-workers or family to join you. Getting together can double the fun!

2. Put it on your calendar.

Schedule your workout just as you would any important appointment. Think about the timing that's best for you — and reserve it.

Of course, life happens. If you miss a workout, don't give up. Just reschedule and recommit.

3. Make it a mini.

If you're pressed for time — and who isn't? — try exercising in short bursts of time. Sneak in a bike ride to the post office or a short stroll during the lunch hour. Every minute you're moving adds up.

4. Track your progress.

Keeping a record of your workouts — with a notebook, fitness tracker or smartphone app — may help you see progress and stay motivated.

It might also reveal patterns you could change. For instance, do your workout plans tend to fall apart on busy weeknights? Maybe give mornings or weekends a try instead.

5. Go for a goal.  

Having a target in sight helps build confidence and momentum — whether it's a better lap time in the pool, training for a 5K or hitting a list of hiking trails. Plus, it gives you a reason to celebrate each success — and reward yourself. You deserve it!

Remember: There's power in the plate too.

Exercise is just one part of the weight-control equation. It also means making healthier food choices and practicing portion control. When all the pieces come together at once, you'll be more likely to see lasting results. 

What to do next

Are you due for your annual wellness exam? That's a great way to kick off the year. Your doctor can help set realistic exercise and weight goals for you — and offer helpful tips too.

To help you stay on track, ask your doctor to record your height, weight and body mass index (BMI) on a yearly basis. And find out about other preventive care services you may need.**

BMI estimates how much body fat you may have based on your height and weight. Keep in mind that other factors besides body fat — such as your age and muscle mass — can influence your BMI too. So if you have concerns about your number, talk with your doctor.

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*For safety’s sake, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.

**Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.

Sources: American Council on Exercise; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health