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10 Tips for a Successful Exercise Program

Get Into the Fun

Vary your exercises to avoid monotony and keep your exercise program exciting. For instance, instead of jogging every day, add an activity or class such as aerobics, dance, swimming or kickboxing. Adding an activity to your regimen can help you to feel invigorated and rewarded.

Have Goals

As with any commitment, goals are important because they allow you to measure achievement. Remember to set goals that are realistic. For example, a person who has not been exercising for a while might commit to walking for five or 10 minutes a day versus running for an hour.

Create a Support System

Have people around you who support your goals. A group can keep you accountable and motivated, whether people ask how your exercise regimen is going, remind you of your exercise commitment or join you in working out.

Flexibility

Setting aside time each day to work out is ideal, but there might be occasions when you just can't fit exercise into your schedule. It's OK to work out at a different time, or to substitute a workout time with physical activities throughout the day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Make a Contract

Contracts are binding agreements. Make a contract with yourself and post it in a visible location. Include personal goals such as a weight loss goal (I will lose 3 lbs. in 30 days), commitment level (I will exercise 15 minutes a day) and nutritional goals (I will eat a serving of fruit and vegetables every day). This contract will serve as a reminder of your fitness commitment.

Get Comfortable

Make sure the clothing you wear is appropriate and fits well. Your shoes should be the right size and the right type for the exercise you are performing.

Record Activities

Keep a daily log of your exercise activities. This not only serves as a mental reminder of your commitment, but will keep you focused and give you a sense of achievement.

Make It Daily

Having a daily routine will increase your chances of success. For instance, your lunch break might be an ideal time to spend a few minutes at a gym or to walk around the office building. You will be less likely to create excuses for not sticking to your program.

Create a Rewards System

Everyone likes rewards, so it's only fitting to grant yourself rewards for meeting goals. Treat yourself to things such as a movie or shopping. Skip rewards that might keep you from meeting your goals, such as junk foods.

Consult a Doctor

As with any new activity that affects your health, consult your doctor first. This is especially important for those who aren't used to exercise, are obese or have other health issues.

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