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10 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Try these tricks to become one of the fitness faithful

continued...

But there are a slew of other progress indicators, such as:

  • Getting a good night's sleep.
  • Thinking more clearly.
  • Having more energy.
  • Realizing your muscles aren't screaming after you've helped a friend move furniture.
  • Seeing your resting heart rate drop over time.
  • Hearing your doctor congratulate you on improved cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density, triglycerides, and blood sugars.

9. Walk -- with a pedometer (or a dog). "If you enjoy walking and haven't exercised for awhile, 10 minutes three times a day will give you 30 minutes," says Klein.

Use a pedometer, and work up to at least 10,000 steps a day. "Nobody starts out with 10,000 steps," Klein says. Find out what your daily average is, and, the next week, strive to walk 300 extra steps each day. Increase your steps each week.

"Better yet, walk the dog," Klein says. That's how she motivated her sister to exercise. "Twice a day she walks her dog, which is good for them both and provides companionship."

Wanda Stevens also enjoys walking her border collie and finds there's another benefit: "It relieves the guilt I felt over not giving her enough attention now that we have kids."

10. Reward yourself. Are you telling yourself that you don't deserve a reward for something you should be doing anyway -- or that once you can zip your jeans without lying on the bed, that will be reward enough? Well, honestly, how inspiring is that?

Experts say that making behavior changes is hard, and rewards motivate. So decide on a goal and a reward, and work toward it. You might buy yourself a video you've wanted after you stick to your fitness plan for one month, or buy new walking shoes when you achieve 5,000 steps a day. Do whatever works for you.

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Reviewed on September 28, 2010

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