Setting goals was—and still is—an important part of Kris's physical activity plan.
She remembers getting on the stationary bike in the beginning and feeling like her legs were going to fall off after just a few minutes. "So I would just say, 'All right, I'll do 20 minutes this week. And if I feel a little bit stronger next week, I'll do 25.'
"I would just try and increase it 5 minutes or so [at a time]. I still do that. Last week I did 98 pounds on this one exercise machine and today I thought, 'I'm going to do 100.' I did, too! From 98 to 100 is only 2 pounds, but still you feel like, well, that's an improvement. It may not be much more, but if you look back to 6 months ago—Whoa! It's quite good! I started out at 70 pounds and now I'm at 100!
"So every time you make that goal, you do a little bit better or you stretch a little bit farther. It makes you feel pretty good about yourself."
Making physical activity a routine
Kris says that the keys to turning her workouts into a daily habit were knowing her likes and dislikes and figuring out what worked best for her. She already knew that going at 5 a.m. every day wouldn't work. So she tried 8 a.m. instead.
"I have a set time that I do it, every single day. We get up, we go walk the dog for 45 minutes, I come back home, get in the car and go work out. So this is just something that's part of the day, and it gets done."
Meeting barriers head-on
Even though her workouts have become a habit, Kris still has days when she just doesn't feel very motivated. But she goes anyway.
"There are lots of days when I probably don't put as much energy into it. But I'm there and I'm working out. I might not be working out as hard or push as heavy weights, but I'm there and I'm working. I just have to talk myself into it and just say, 'You know how much better you feel when you go. Just get up and go!'
"I find it just necessary now," she says. "I feel like this is a lifelong thing that I'm going to have to do to stay fit and healthy."
Kris's story reflects her experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Kris, to protect her privacy.
For more information, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.