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Feb. 17, 2011 Volume 32, No. 20

Patience and goals lead to successful exercise regimen


Tips for making the most of your workout

We all know exercise is good for us, but getting motivated can be a challenge. But there are ways to get started and even learn to enjoy exercise, says a University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.

“Avoid getting off to a bad start by taking the ‘all or nothing’ approach,” said Lynda Johnson. “It’s important to give yourself some slack, not get discouraged and realize that missing a few days of exercise doesn’t constitute failure.”

Here are some tips that will help you stay motivated to move:

  • Commit to change. Be willing to move in a new direction with your lifestyle. Make the choice to find ways to be more active.

“Accept that change is all about making choices,” Johnson said. “Choosing to take a walk rather than watch TV. Or choosing to walk up the escalator, rather than just riding along, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.”

  • Believe in yourself and your ability to change.

“Nix the negative self-talk,” she said. “Don’t think that a couple of days with no exercise will ruin your efforts. Have confidence that you can get back on track with your healthy routine.”

  • Focus on small changes. Getting healthier and staying that way requires a lifetime commitment. Keep experimenting until you discover physical activities you enjoy.

“If you can’t walk due to the weather, have an exercise DVD to use. Keep a pair of sneakers in the car, by your desk or at the door as a reminder to walk. Place hand weights next to the TV so you can exercise while watching your favorite program.

  • Cheer on your change.

Seek out a friend or family member who will encourage you. Regular phone calls, e-mails or visits could provide that motivational boost to keep you on target. Reward yourself as you make simple changes that support your overall goal.