How to Start and Stick to a New Exercise Program

Starting a new exercise program can be tough. And sticking to it? Even tougher.

Here are 6 ways you can get (and stay) moving:

1. Set the right goals

Many people who start a new exercise routine can find themselves overwhelmed or discouraged if they set the wrong weekly goals.

Set an ambitious goal you can’t hit right away? Or don’t exercise enough to see meaningful results? You might stop altogether.

Start with a goal you’re confident you can reach. A good rule of thumb: if you haven’t been exercising regularly, you can get health benefits from just 50 minutes of exercise per week. Then start to build from there.

2. Stay focused

Staying focused on your fitness goals requires a healthy dose of motivation.

Think about why you wanted to start exercising in the first place. Do you want to keep up with your grandkids? Did your doctor prescribe more activity?

Focusing on your reason for being more active will help keep you focused on your goals.

3. Keep it regular

It’s called a routine for a reason. You’ll see greater health benefits the more regularly you exercise.

If you’re tempted to skip a workout, try finding a way to hold yourself accountable. That might mean meeting a friend for weekly walks, pre-registering for group fitness classes, or setting calendar reminders.

4. Start slowly

As we age, our bodies can’t recover from exercise as quickly as they once did. So, start slowly with low-intensity exercises that won’t leave you too sore.

Most importantly, listen to your body.

5. Try a variety of activities

You don’t have to go to the gym to move your body. Experiment with different types of “workouts” to find what you’ll enjoy doing consistently.

You might try yoga, Tai Chi, hiking, walking the dog, biking, or playing with your grandkids.

6. Incorporate some strength-training and flexibility exercises

While light activity and walking are great for your overall health, it’s also important to incorporate strength, balance, and flexibility training into your weekly routine.

As we age, it’s especially important to keep our core and lower body strong to maintain balance and reduce the risk of falling: www.agebold.com/blog/how-to-not-lose-your-balance/.