Are you ready?
Before you increase your activity, take a look at where you are now. Ask yourself these questions:
- What challenges get in my way? You may have barriers in your life that get in the way of becoming more active. These barriers may be a lack of time, fear of getting hurt, or having no one to exercise with.
- Is physical activity safe for me? For some people, some forms of physical activity might be unsafe. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or any health concerns, talk to your doctor before you start any exercise or fitness program. Your doctor may want to help you build an exercise plan matched to your needs. You can find a way to be active safely.
Changing your thinking
If you need to make some lifestyle changes to become more active, you'll have more success if you first change the way you think about certain things:
- Don't compare yourself to others. Healthy bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. One person's choice of activity won't be right for another person. Some people use fitness to compete against others, while others use it to feel as good as possible.
- Think positive. You can help yourself succeed just by thinking that you can succeed. If you tell yourself negative things—"I can't do this. Why bother?"—change will be harder. But if you encourage yourself with thoughts like "I can do this," you can raise your odds of success.
Changing your habits
Making any kind of change in the way you live your daily life is like being on a path. The path leads to success. Here are steps you can use to change a habit by setting goals:
- Have your own reason for making a change. Know why it's important to you to meet your goals.
- Set goals. Include both long-term and short-term goals.
- Think about what might get in your way, and prepare for slip-ups.
- Get support from your family, your doctor, your friends—and from yourself.
- Measure improvements to your health. For example, keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar.
One Man's Story:
"My mantra is 'Find a way to exercise.' It has made all the difference in my life."—John