You’re ready to get fit. That’s great! First, do a little planning to come up with the activities that will be fun and fit into your life.
Start by asking yourself these four simple questions.
1. Where Do I Want to Work Out?
Figure out what setting appeals to you most, says New York cardiologist Merle Myerson, MD. Do you want to exercise outdoors or inside?
Depending on where you live, you might be able to walk, run, bike, swim, or ski outdoors. Even gardening can count, as long as you’re working hard enough so you perspire a little, says Bradley Bale, MD, medical director of the Heart Health Program for Grace Clinic in Lubbock, Texas.
On the other hand, you could exercise indoors at a gym or specialty fitness studio, in your home, at a community center, or even a mall (they often open early to let people walk).
2. What's Convenient?
If you join a gym, make sure it’s nearby, so you’ll be more likely to go there. Signing up for a class? Check that you’ll have plenty of time to get there after work or with your other commitments. You want to cut out as many obstacles as possible.
3. By Yourself or With Others?
Think about whether you're more comfortable on your own or with a group. “Groups can help make time go by and [help you stick] to an exercise program,” Myerson says.
To find exercise buddies, check out fitness, yoga, or dance classes in your area. Join a club, like those for walkers, runners, or cyclists. You could also post a notice at your work, neighborhood, or community center to find a partner. Or just ask a friend or two to exercise with you.
4. What Might Be Fun?
Consider the types of activities you enjoy, especially when it comes to cardio (aerobic exercise). It revs up your heart and will be a key part of your fitness plan.
The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to keep it up and stay committed.