5 Steps to Exercise Success

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You know the benefits: weight loss, improved self-esteem, more energy, decreased risk of chronic disease. Then why is exercise often so challenging?

Here are 5 easy steps to overcome the challenges and start reaping the benefits of a consistent exercise routine:

Step #1: Assess Your Steps

Strap on a pedometer and find out how your steps stack up to recommended guidelines (10,000 steps per day) for fitness and weight loss:

  • <5,000 steps/day means you are fairly sedentary.
  • 5,000-7,499 steps/day means you have a low activity level.
  • 7,500-9,999 steps/day means you’re moderately active.
  • 10,000-12,499 steps/day means you have an active lifestyle and are hitting the recommended target number.

Step #2: Get Started

You don’t have to be great to start. But you do have to start to be great.

  • If you haven’t been exercising, start gradually. Try to move up one level with your steps, beginning with 10 minutes of activity.
  • Build up to 30-60 minutes per session.
  • For health benefits the goal is 150 minutes per week, but for greater weight loss, some individuals may need more.

Step #3: Combine Structured Exercise with Simply Moving More

  • Do more daily chores.
  • Walk in place during commercial breaks.
  • Walk to a co-worker instead of sending an email.
  • Take walking breaks instead of coffee breaks.
  • Go in instead of using the drive-through.
  • Walk around the field or court at your children’s sporting events.
  • Park your car farther away.
  • Take the stairs.

Step #4: Take Precautions and Listen to Your Body

  • Warm up and cool down (5 minutes for each).
  • Be smart in extreme climates.
  • Wear a good pair of sneakers.
  • Make sure you’re hydrated.
  • Fuel up with a carb/protein snack (banana with peanut butter, apple, half bagel, chocolate milk) before and after work-outs.
  • Stop if you experience extreme discomfort, racing heart, or chest pain.
  • Be safe. Tell someone where you will be; write your name and number on your shoe; bring a phone.

Step #5: Stay Motivated

  • Strive to do at least 10 minutes of some type of physical activity every day.
  • Do more on days when you have more time.
  • Small, manageable goals may be more attainable than larger ones.
  • Make exercise fun; choose activities you enjoy.
  • Mix it up to prevent boredom and injury.
  • Work out with buddies.
  • When trying new exercises or when you have limitations, consult a professional for proper form/technique.

Need help meeting your health and wellness goals? Click here for details about free Wellness 101 classes.

author name

Emily Erb, BS

Emily Erb, BS, is an exercise physiologist and health educator with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery. 
Education: A graduate of Cabrini College where she studied exercise science with a concentration in health promotion, Erb is passionate about working with people to help them reach their health goals and live an active life.

Call: 717-544-2935

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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