New Year's resolution exercise

How to get active and stay active this year

Resolving to exercise more or increase your fitness level is a great goal. Being active – for as little as 30 minutes five times a week – can do wonders for your overall health. In fact, exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, and it can also help reduce high blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips to get you going:

Talk with your doctor

If you haven’t been active in a while, schedule a visit to your doctor to gauge on your overall health. Discuss any aches, pains or limitations that might impact your plans to get active. Your doctor can also assess your cardiovascular health and help you understand how and when to increase your exercise intensity.

Warm up and cool down

Aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking, is recommended for those getting started with a new routine. Your exercise session should start with a warm-up period of slow walking or low-resistance bicycling and end with a cool-down segment at similar intensity.

At the end of exercise, stretch the major muscle groups used by holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. This can minimize injury and fatigue and increase flexibility.

Make it manageable

Begin your exercise routine with an amount of time that is manageable, something as short as a five-minute walk around the neighborhood. Once you’re comfortable exercising for that long, slowly increase the duration of your sessions.

Don’t push yourself too hard, either. You should be able to maintain a conversation at all times of exercise without experiencing breathlessness.

Embrace the cold

Starting a new exercise routine is challenging, especially when it’s cold. But if you can manage to get outside, exercising in the cold has been shown to have numerous health benefits.

Outdoor exercise is a great way take in some sunshine, which is in short supply during short winter days. Sunlight exposure in small amounts helps with vitamin D intake and can improve your mood.

The cold weather can also give you a boost of energy, allowing you to exercise longer and burn even more calories. Exercise also boosts your immunity and can help prevent bacterial and viral infections during cold and flu season.

Of course, be sure to wear proper clothing if you plan to exercise outside. Wear a base layer made from moisture-wicking fabric, add a layer of fleece and finish with a wind-proof outer layer.

Have some fun

Exercise shouldn’t be a slog, so make sure you’re doing something that you enjoy and makes you feel good. A successful start of a new routine will keep you motivated to continue and progress.

Fitness trackers and fitness apps are additional options to stay engaged and monitor progress. Enlisting a companion for exercise will add an element of support and keep the activity enjoyable.


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