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If you have decided to get more active, congratulations! Making
that decision is an important first step in becoming a healthier person.
Keep these key points in mind:
As we said before,
you're not as likely to succeed if you jump in too far too fast. In this
section, you'll learn about the steps to follow in setting up an exercise
are clear about your reasons for wanting to get active, it's time to set your
What is your long-term goal? A long-term goal is something
you want to reach in 6 to 12 months. For example, someone who isn't active at
all right now may have a goal of entering an organized 5-kilometer walk in 6
Whatever you choose for your goal, experts recommend
doing either of these things to get and stay healthy:1
It's fine to be active in several blocks of 10 minutes or
more throughout your day and week. And you can choose to do one or both types
If you decide to aim for these recommendations, what
are the short-term goals that will help you get there? Short-term goals are
things you want to do tomorrow and the day after.
For example, if
you want to build up to walking 30 minutes every day, you might start by
walking just 10 minutes a day, a few days a week. After a week, you can set a
new goal by adding just a few minutes every day or adding another day to your
Read more about
Here are some quick tips
about activity goals:
For ideas on fitting more activity into your day, see the
Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.
Take the time to think about what things could get
in the way of your success. We call these things barriers. And by thinking
about them now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Read more about
common barriers and what you can do about them.
Here are some tips for dealing with barriers:
It might help you to
write down your goals and your barriers(What is a PDF document?).
The more support you have, the easier it is to
If your family members tell you that they love how
you're getting healthier, you'll probably be motivated to bound up the stairs
at work or walk an extra 10 minutes.
And there's more support out
there. You can even ask for encouragement. Here are a few things to look
You might find a fitness professional at a local health club or in phone listings. When deciding on fitness professionals, ask about how they were trained and what certifications they have. Check into experience and ask for a few references.
Support is everywhere. You just have to look for it.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008).
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP
Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
September 26, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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