So, how do we turn our intentions into action and past failures
into future success? First, know that you are going to fail.
Sometimes. There are going to be times that you miss
exercising or eat a giant piece of chocolate cake. But even multiple
failures does not mean the goal is unobtainable or unworthy of the
effort. Give yourself a break and forget it. Give your heart and
body a break by continuing to work towards a healthier, more active
Creating a pattern of routine exercise and leading an active
lifestyle can improve overall health and play an important role in
Healthier choices and lifestyle habits can lead to increased energy,
improved mood, and increased self-esteem.
Daily exercise reduces the risk of heart attack, breast cancer,
osteoporosis, insomnia, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
It’s worth it!
Here are ten tips to beginning an exercise program and creating a
1. Establish your goals in writing and share with your support
group. Set reasonable short-term goals and your dream long-term
- For example, a short-term goal may be to increase exercise
time to 15 minutes every day and reduce screen/inactive time by
30 minutes a day.
- A long term goal may be to lose 30 pounds or run a 10K race.
- Sharing your goals with those who support you allows them to
do just that: support you!
2. Know your calorie count.
- Between the ages of 19 and 30, the average sedentary
adult male needs 2,400 calories and the average adult female
needs 2,000 calories.
- If you are younger or older than this group your caloric
requirement is less.
- As activity level increases, your caloric requirements
will also increase.
3. Log your food intake and be honest.
- Make sure you include everything that you eat.
- There are plenty of smart phone apps to assist with
food logging, but pen and paper work just as well.
4. Eat regularly.
- When we eat large amounts at infrequent
intervals, our bodies prefer to try and store any
excess calories as fat.
- Infrequent meals can also lead to a slower
metabolic rate; the rate at which our bodies use
- By eating smaller more frequent meals, we can
improve our metabolic rate and decrease our body’s
tendency to store calories.
5. Use behavior modification.
- Behavior modification involves using a
system of rewards and punishment to reinforce
positive activities and reduce or eliminate
negative ones. Our objective is to replace our
poor activity, exercise, and eating habits with
6. Provide cues.
- If your goal is to exercise before work
in the morning, place your workout clothes
and shoes right next to the bed so that you
have to move them or put them on to get out
of bed. Put your yard work clothing on top
of the TV remote.
- Make it easier to be healthy and active
than it is to be inactive.
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7. Start small.
- Long, intense workout sessions and highly restrictive diets
are not only unnecessary to improve our health and weight, but
may also make us more likely to cheat or give up. Begin with 10
minutes of moderate exercise and try to build up to 30 minutes
most days of the week.
- Count calories, but introduce healthier foods into your diet
while reducing and eliminating less healthy choices gradually.
8. Reduce inactive time.
- Inactivity contributes to increased weight and increases
the risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease,
- Nielsen reports that the average American spends 11
hours per day on gadgets and over 34 hours per week watching
- Choose active pursuits like cleaning, yard work, or
exercise before electronics.
9. Strength training can help weight loss.
- Engaging in strength training for as little as 20
minutes 2 days a week can increase the muscle mass in
our bodies which, in turn, can increase the number of
calories we use each day.
- Increasing strength also makes our daily activities
- Other benefits of strength training include improved
bone density, improved balance, reduced pain due to
arthritis, and reduced back pain.
10. Make activity a priority.
- Plan time to exercise.
- Plan time to be active.
While many of us know the steps to take to a
healthier life, we may have difficulty finding the
motivation or may be unsure of exactly what to do.
Memorial’s Weight Loss and Wellness Center, which
features a multidisciplinary approach to weight
loss, can help. The physician-led team includes
medical, surgical, lifestyle, physical and
nutritional specialists and develops an
individualized weight loss strategy for every