Please get a physical before you start a workout program unless you're already meeting the minimum recommended levels of weekly exercise - at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, Be sure to ask your doctor about any health limitations that would impact starting a new exercise program.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down why you want to start exercising (or increasing your activity if you already do some exercise).
No matter how big or small your goal-whether it’s losing 5 or 50 pounds, walking a mile or running your first marathon-making change requires planning and SMART goal setting.
S= Specific. Your goal should be clear and easy to understand. Base your goal on your "why" statement, but keep it short and to the point. For example, "I want to increase my stamina" or "I want to lose weight" are clear and to the point.
M=Measurable. A goal to "increase stamina" is not enough by itself. How will you track your progress and how you will know when you have reached your goal? Making your goal measurable means adding a number. For example, "I want to be able to walk 2 miles" or "I want to lose 10 pounds" are easily measured.
A=Attainable. Before you can add a number, you have to know how high or low you want to go. It’s good to ‘shoot for the stars’, but don’t be too extreme. Likewise, a goal that is too easy is also not very motivating.
R=Relevant. Set goals that are important to where you are in your life right now. Don’t set a goal that someone else is pressuring you to attain-that isn’t very motivating. Go back to your why statement and make sure it's personal and matters to you.
T=Time-bound. Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started. For example, "In two months, I want to be able to walk two miles without stopping" or "I want to lose 10 pounds over the next 3 months" gives you clear deadline.
With a goal like this, it’s a good idea to set a few more action-oriented, mini SMART goals so that you have a game plan. Here are a few examples:
I will walk 5 days every week for 30 minutes each.
I will drink water instead of soda every day this week.
I will bring my lunch to work instead of eating out 4 days this week.
Find sample exercise routines and links to fitness and wellness articles.