Exercise Tips

By: Joyce Hendley, M.S.  |  The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Here are some proven strategies to get you moving.

Here are some proven strategies to get you moving.
Keeping active is a critical factor in helping you lose weight and keep it off for good—but how do you start?
Track yourself to know yourself. Keeping track of the activity you get daily can be tremendously motivating. Start an Activity Log (click to download pdf) now.
Motivate yourself with a pedometer. A pedometer can give you the push you need by tracking the number of steps you take in a day. How are you doing? Need to add more?

Five ways to become a walkaholic:

1. Are you always ready to walk?
2. Are you dressed right for walking?
3. How can you enrich the experience (music, an arboretum, a local park)?
4. Do you have a plan B for bad weather?
5. Who will you walk with?

Lifestyle Exercise

Small changes in your daily routine can help you burn extra calories—but with today’s sedentary lifestyles, it’s up to us to invent our own opportunities to move our bodies. Try these Six Ways to Sneak in Lifestyle Exercise, then use our Living More Actively (click to download pdf) worksheet to come up with ideas that work with your life.

6 Easy Ways to Sneak in Lifestyle Exercise

1. Use the “5 & 10” rule for escalators and elevators: take the stairs if you only need to go up five floors or less or down 10 floors or less.
2. Walk or bike to errands less than 1 mile away.
3. Do your own gardening and yard work and housecleaning, burning calories and saving money.
4. Don’t be so darn efficient. Do one household task at a time, or make a separate trip (on foot) for each errand.
5. Change “classes” at work. Every hour or so, take four minutes to walk around–a bathroom break, visiting a colleague, etc.
6. Keep moving. While watching your kids at sports games or practice, use that time to walk or jog around the field.

Overcoming Exercise Excuses

What’s stopping you? Everyone has reasons why they can't start. The EatingWell Diet can help you correct those reasons and get started now. It's never too late! Here are our tips for overcoming exercise excuses:

"I don't have enough time."

  • Break exercise into smaller segments.
  • Multitask—do crunches while watching TV.
  • Adjust your schedule—say, get up a half-hour earlier to walk.
  • Make it nonnegotiable routine. Block off an inviolate time each day for exercise, so you (and friends and colleagues) can plan around it.

"I'm too embarrassed to exercise."

  • Bring a friend along for moral support. Walk in a neighborhood where you’re not likely to run into anyone you know.
  • Work out at home with an exercise or dance DVD.
  • Try a gym that feels comfortable and friendly. Most welcome all sizes and fitness levels.

"Exercise is too hard."

  • Take it slow and steady. Start with a comfortable amount of activity and add a little more each day.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion; you should always be able to carry on a conversation.
  • Keep going. If you’ve got minor aches, take it easier the next day but don’t stop altogether. Gentle movement helps sore muscles recover.

"Exercise doesn't work for me"

  • Correction. You just haven’t found the right kind of exercise yet. Focus on adding more lifestyle exercise to your day
  • Use your diary to record your thoughts and feelings around exercise—they can help you find a way around your exercise demons.