What are the keys to
success in exercise?
Build up your activity level gradually. For example, if you are inactive
now and want to begin walking regularly, you might begin slowly with
a 10-15-minute walk, three times a week. As you become more fit, you
can increase the sessions to every day, and if you wish, you can make
each session longer.
Please note: The
biggest danger is trying to do too much. So take it slow!
Start each session slowly
If you choose a fairly vigorous activity, begin each session slowly.
Allow a 5-minute period of stretching and slow movement to give your
body a chance to "warm up." At the end of your workout, take another
5 minutes to "cool down" with a slower exercise pace.
Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slower
to cool down. Or stretch for a few minutes. Cooling down may protect
your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
Listen to your body
A certain amount of stiffness is normal at first. But if you hurt a
joint or pull a muscle or tendon, stop the activity for several days
to avoid more serious injury.
Please note: While
regular physical activity can strengthen your heart, some types of
activity may worsen existing heart problems. Warning signals include
sudden dizziness, cold sweat, paleness, fainting, or pain or pressure
in your upper body just after exercising. If you notice any of these
signs, stop the activity and call your doctor immediately.
Set goals for yourself
Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk
5 minutes at least 3 days for 1 week. A long-term goal may be to walk
30 minutes most days of the week by the end of 6 months.
Track your progress
Keep a journal of your activity. You may not feel like you are making
progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly
Get a family member or friend to be active with you. It's more fun,
and a great motivation-boost.
Keep at it
Unless you have to stop your regular physical activity for a health
reason, stay with it. Set small, short-term goals for yourself. If you
find yourself becoming bored, try doing the activity with a friend or
family member. Or switch to another activity. The health rewards of
regular physical activity are well worth the effort.