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Physical Health: Fun Ways to Get Fit and Trim

10 ways to get moving and shed pounds!
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3. Get Your Groove On: Exercise to Music

Music makes exercise more enjoyable and more tolerable. In a recent study from Brunel University in West London, music not only enhanced endurance by 15%, but also helped those working out get more pleasure from exercise. (They pumped to tunes from Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Madonna.)  

In another study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers found that listening to a favorite piece of music decreases the influence of stress caused by fatigue, increasing the comfort level of doing the exercise. 

The kind of music doesn't matter at all, says Stevens. The right music? "Whatever makes you want to get up on your feet," he says.

4. Lean on Friends for Fitness Support

Exercising with others -- an entire group or just your spouse or a friend -- can make workouts not only more fun but also more regular, Stevens says. "The social part sweetens the deal," he says. "Find someone you want to spend time with -- a friend, a family member. Make a deal with them, a blood oath to exercise with them."

A lot of people find they enjoy group exercise, he says. If you do, consider a hiking group, mall walking group, aerobics class, or dance studio.

In one study, researchers found that women who find it hard to stick to an exercise routine worked out more regularly and got better results when they worked out with their daughters.

5. Change Your Focus: Aim for a Little Exercise Every Day

Don’t get hung up on the length of each workout. Instead, focus on exercising on most days of the week, especially when you are beginning or resuming an exercise program, Stevens says.

"If you get into a pattern of daily exercise, it's easy to increase it," he says. The focus at first is to "show up," to do some exercise or activity most days of the week.

"The hardest part of increasing physical activity is simply getting started,” says Stevens, who works with sedentary and overweight people often. "My advice as a weight loss counselor: Make a deal with yourself. If you plan to exercise on a particular day, no matter how you feel when that day comes around, you will put on your exercise clothes and do at least five minutes. If you still feel bad you can stop."

"Most people are surprised that when they do this, they get in more exercise. Once you get started it is easier to keep going," he says. "And it's easier to increase the amount of time once you are in the habit of every day or every other day."

6. Double Up on Your Goals: Get Fit and Trim

If your goal is to get fit, you may also want to also lose weight or eat more healthfully.

If you think you can't do it all at once, think again. Research suggests that it’s often easier to make massive changes in your behavior than one or two small changes. One study in the American Journal of Health Behavior looked at 810 people with high blood pressure. Some were given two goals: to reduce their salt intake and boost physical activity. Others were given four goals: to reduce salt, boost exercise, reduce fat, and eat more low-fat dairy. Those given the most goals achieved the most.

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