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Whether you’re a lifelong athlete or have a newfound interest in getting in shape, finding the perfect exercise regimen can be a challenge. Fitness goals and priorities may change over time, as does your body. That’s why it’s important to take inventory of your current health and wellness goals regularly and check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. For a more enjoyable and efficient experience that you’re likely to stick with, consider these four tips when exploring a new exercise routine.
Do What You Love
When you like something, you’re more likely to actually do it, and less likely to make excuses or skip your workouts. Before you start a workout regimen, try different activities and figure out what you’re interested in. Keep in mind that interests may change over time – so something you hated as a kid, you may find relaxing or energizing now. Also think outside the box when considering physical activities. Enjoy gardening? Volunteer to help landscape in your community. Find yourself dancing while doing the dishes? Maybe a Jazzercise or Zumba class is right for you. Whatever you like to do, put your own fitness spin on it to help you stay active. Need additional fitness inspiration? Buy a new workout outfit or even an entire wardrobe! For a limited time, check out a Special Merchant Offer by FILA* on the AARP Member Advantages website for fashionable and functional sportswear.
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It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint
Once you’ve found something you love, it’s time to take action! Before getting started, consider your fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight? Tone or gain muscle? De-stress? Or simply be able to walk up a flight of stairs, or play with your grandkids, without getting winded? No matter your motivation, the key is to have these long-term goals in mind while setting attainable benchmarks along the way. This will help ensure you don’t burn out, get injured or discouraged. For example: rather than setting a goal of losing 15 pounds, start off with a smaller number, perhaps 2 or 3 per month, and gradually work towards the 15 over time. Working towards smaller goals along the way will help you achieve lasting results, so you can take your new exercise routine at a pace that feels right for you.
Doc Talk: Consult With Your Physician
Doctors are a trusted source for medical information, but their intimate understanding of your medical history also well-equips them to help you identify the best workout regimen for your health and body type. If you are unsure if you should begin a diet and/or exercise program, or if you just want confirmation a program is right for you, consult with your physician first.
Food Is Your Friend
Don’t undo all the great work you’re doing to meet your fitness goals when you step into the kitchen. Fueling your body with the right kinds of food will help you meet and maintain your fitness goals. Not only that, but diet and nutrition can actually be more important than exercise, so coupling them together can be a winning combination. Try removing processed foods from your daily diet and incorporate more clean carbohydrates (e.g., fruits, vegetables and whole grains), protein (e.g., eggs and lean meat) and healthy fats (e.g., avocados and nuts) into the mix. Also remember that hydration is a must! Water helps keep your skin looking good and controlling caloric intake energizes your muscles and more. Keep a water bottle next to you to remind yourself to drink up regularly.
*For Special Merchant Offers, all goods, services and discounts are provided by third-parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. AARP and its affiliates do not endorse and are not responsible for these goods, services and discounts. These offers are available for a limited-time and may have restrictions. Please contact the merchant directly for full details. Merchants may pay compensation for purchases made through these links.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.