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Fitness: Getting and Staying Active - Staying Active

Structured fitness

Fitness classes or groups provide a consistent approach to an activity. Local gyms, schools, and churches may sponsor a regular fitness group. Teams also provide a consistent approach to fitness but are more competitive. Many communities have physical activity programs to help adults and children get fit. They often are found within social agencies and schools.

Structured fitness has the advantage of:

  • Being held at the same time and place, which may be easier for some people to schedule.
  • Having a social atmosphere.
  • Providing support and "healthy" peer pressure to show up and participate.
  • Sometimes being led by a certified fitness professional.

Self-directed fitness

Many people find an activity they enjoy, and then they create their own fitness program. Self-directed fitness gives you:

  • Flexibility as to the time and place.
  • The ability to try different types of exercises.

For this to be effective, you must set up a regular schedule and stay with it.

Fitness within your day

You can use "everyday" activities for fitness, as long as you do them regularly. This includes:

Preparing for slip-ups

It's perfectly normal to try to change a habit, go along fine for a while, and then have a setback. Lots of people try and try again before they reach their goals.

What are the things that might cause a setback for you? If you have tried to make changes in your activity level before, think about what helped you and what got in your way.

By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.

Here's one person's list of barriers to taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day, along with some possible solutions:

Overcoming barriers

Barriers

Solutions

"I might be too busy."

  • My backup plan will be to break my usual 30-minute walk into two 15-minute walks or three 10-minute walks.
  • I will promise to meet my friend or neighbor every day for a walk.

"I might get bored."

  • I'll listen to music or podcasts while I walk.
  • I'll get my neighbor to walk with me.

"It might rain."

  • I'll buy a good rain jacket.
  • My backup plan will be to use an exercise DVD or a treadmill in front of my TV when the weather's bad.

Use a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your barriers and backup plans.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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