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How to get started on an exercise program

To help you avoid being one of the February quitters, here's a few suggestions and tips for starting to exercise:

  • If you are new to exercise, are returning after a long lay-off, have any health problems, or are pregnant or elderly, then check with your doctor first in order to be clear what you can and can't do.

  • Have realistic expectations. Too often people jump in with both feet, a gung-ho attitude, and a recipe for failure. The result? With a few weeks (or sometimes even days), the commitment is gone, the resolution broken, the new gym membership wasted. It takes about 6 weeks to start to see meaningful results, so allow time for your new program to work its magic.

  • Start off with a conservative, flexible plan. For example, rather than saying "I'll go to the gym every day this week", begin with "I'll go to the gym three times this week."

  • Write out your workout schedule for the week to come, rather than just trying to 'fit your workouts in'. Meeting your goal each week is a great way to motivate yourself for the next week.

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