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December 11, 2007
1. Get a checkup
Meet with your healthcare provider to see whether you'll need to consider any special modifications before starting an exercise program.
2. Start slowly
Many people are eager to get started and sometimes overdo it, which usually makes them sore and can make them want to stop.
3. Make a date
Find a buddy to exercise with you and keep you motivated.
4. Set specific short- and long-term goals
5. Make a list
List the benefits you expect from your physical activity program, and then make sure they are realistic and reasonable.
6. Make choices
What are you willing to give up in order to make room for exercise? Bad habits? Nonproductive activities? Nonbeneficial relationships?
7. Every step counts
Wear a step counter throughout the day to count how many steps you take.
8. Keep moving all the time
Stretch, walk, march in place, stand and sit as many times possible when you're talking on the phone or during TV commercials.
9. Do your own house and yard work
10. Create a support network
Tell friends and family about your new goals and ask for their support and encouragement.
11. Know your challenges
List things that keep you from being active. Work on a solution for each challenge.
12. Exercise in a way that makes your muscles work harder over time
Your muscles will adapt to the exercise you are doing. To continue to build strength, gradually increase the intensity of your workout.
13. Join a class
Select an exercise class at your local health club,YMCA, JCC, hospital-based fitness program, city recreation program, or health club.
14. Wear the right shoes
Foot comfort and support is important for all impact physical activities.
15. Participate in charity events
Set a goal to participate in an event such as a walk, run or bike to raise money for a special cause.
16. Eat well
Good food gives your body the fuel it needs to stay active and function at its best. Choose foods wisely and try to pack in as many nutrients as you can.
17. If it hurts, don't do it
Work around pain, not through it.
18. Focus on the major muscle groups in the legs, chest and back
19. Do balance exercises, as well as strength exercises
20. Keep a journal
Record activities that have become easier to do in your life, as well as those that may be more difficult.
21. Make your car work for you
Park at the outer edges of store parking lots.
22. Take the stairs
Walk up the first flight of stairs in a high-rise, rather than waiting for the elevator. Add another floor every week.
23. Follow a well-rounded program
Include all four components of a successful program: stretching, endurance activities, strength training, and balance exercises. And remember to warm up and cool down.
24. Reward yourself
Once you've reached your goal, treat yourself to something that reminds you what a good job you've done and encourages you to continue.
25. Don't quit
Like brushing your teeth, make exercise part of your daily life.
Source: Adapted from the International Council on Active Aging's "ICAA offers 30 tips on how older adults can become more active"
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