Be kind to yourself and get set up for success.
Q: I want to get back into exercising, but I need some help. What's the best way to get started?
Everyone has struggled lately with getting enough exercise; a 2021 report from the American Psychological Association found 53% of U.S. adults say they've been less physically active than they wanted to be since the pandemic started. So let's not dwell on what you haven't been doing, and look forward to what you're going to do.
Restarting or starting to exercise doesn't mean you have to walk 5 miles the first day. In fact, that's a formula for defeat — and sore feet. Instead, you want to take time to establish what your goals are and what you can realistically start doing.
Step 1: Make a Schedule
Write out a schedule of what activity you will do each day — and when. Here's an example...
Sunday at 10:30 a.m.: Walk for an hour. If it's raining? Try one of these low-impact toning classes here on OZtube.
Monday at 7:30 a.m.: Go to the gym for 30 minutes of strength training. Or try this 20-minute strength-training and balance class on OZtube.
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.: Take a walk after dinner.
You get the picture. If you think you don't have time to fit a structered exercise in your day, here are some moderate-intensity everyday activities that can fit the bill: pushing a stroller 1.5 miles in 30 minutes; raking leaves for 30 minutes; walking 2 miles in 30 minutes (15 min/mile); stair-walking for 15 minutes; biking 5 miles in 30 minutes; water aerobics for 30 minutes; basketball (playing a game) for 15–20 minutes.
Step 2: Get Support
Enlist a partner or join a group for support (and a touch of peer pressure).
Step 3: Forgive Yourself
If you miss a day (or two), don't get discouraged. Just take a deep breath and start again. The rewards will come pretty fast. After just a week of working out, stress dissolves, your skin looks better, you'll have more energy in the daytime and sleep better at night. What's not to love?