- Start small. In a burst of early enthusiasm, some people start an exercise program that’s too challenging for them. Next thing you know, they’re discouraged and give up. Start small, so you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment right away. For instance, start with 10 minutes of exercise and add a minute or two a week until you can comfortably walk 30 minutes. If 10 minutes is too difficult now, start with 2 to 3 minutes. In the same way, if 30 minutes isn’t challenging, start with 40, and so forth.
- Set a goal. Maybe it’s to sign up for a 5K, or go on a bike trip. Pick a challenge to work toward, for an extra boost of motivation.
- Work through aches. A new workout (especially for strength training) almost always leaves you somewhat sore for 1 to 2 days. If the aches are drowning your motivation, try exercising every other day to give your muscles a break without losing the gains you’ve made.
- Vary your routine. While you might find comfort in doing the same thing over and over, it’s best for your body to switch things up. Varying your intensity ensures you’ll get stronger and faster. Like to walk? Change your pace. Love your workout DVD? Try a more challenging one.
- Add strength training. While strength training hasn’t been proven to lower cholesterol or triglycerides, building muscle lets you work out harder and longer (with less risk of injury). Plus, muscles burn more energy -- even at rest -- which helps take weight off. Lowering your weight lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Aim for strength training 2 or more days a week.