5 Steps to Take Before Starting an Exercise Program

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5 Steps to Take Before Starting an Exercise Program

iStock_000033439348_SmallIf you’re ready to start getting into shape, or just want to increase your current level of activity, it’s better to formulate a clear plan of action before lacing up your running shoes. Otherwise, you could waste your time with the wrong exercises, or even injure yourself. Take these five steps before you get started in your new workout regimen.

Make an appointment with your physician. You could have an underlying health condition that prevents you from doing certain activities safely. And if you’re undergoing a healthy lifestyle change anyway, your doctor can advise you on proper nutrition to support your new goals.

Find your reason. Sometimes we set new fitness goals because we want to impress someone or look good for a class reunion. But those are temporary goals, and won’t motivate you in the long term. Ask yourself for a deeper reason – your health, setting a good example for your children, or improving your self esteem – and you’re more likely to stick with it.

Motivate yourself. After you’ve found your inner reason for embarking on this journey, you’ll have to keep yourself motivated. Face it: there will be days when you just don’t want to exercise. Figure out what works for you, whether it’s a particular reward, a buddy system, “skinny pictures” on your bathroom mirror, or great music on your MP3 player.

Make a schedule. It’s easier to avoid a commitment when you haven’t actually committed to something concrete! Make a schedule for your workouts, and set reminders on your smart phone.

Protect yourself. If you’re planning to take up running, make sure you have good, supportive shoes. If you’re going to lift weights, make an appointment with a personal trainer to learn the right techniques. Whatever your goal, remember to take appropriate precautions. You will be less likely to reach your goals if you suffer injuries and setbacks!