Choosing Activity That's Right For You
When it comes to physical activity, the most important decision is choosing something you enjoy. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you will do it regularly.
A combination of structured activities such as walking, running, or sports and daily activities such as household chores, yard work, or walking the dog, makes it easy to get the recommended daily amount of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.
Remember, if you have been inactive for a while, start slowly and work up to 30 minutes a day at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are unable to be active for 30 minutes at one time, you can accumulate activity over the course of the day in 10- to 15-minute sessions.
Also be sure to check with a health care provider, if you have a chronic health problem such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or if you haven't exercised in a long time. Ask your health care provider about what type and amount of physical activity is right for you.
Giving some thought to your style of doing things can also help you choose the right activity. Consider these options:
Exercising alone - This is a good option if your busy schedule prevents you from planning a regular time to be active every day. However, unless you are self-motivated, you may find yourself putting off physical activity and never doing it.
Training buddy - You may be more likely to commit to a physical activity routine if you are doing it with someone else, because you don't want to let your training buddy down.
Team sports and group physical activity programs - Organized activities offer the chance to widen your social circle. However, training sessions and regular matches can also demand a lot of your time.
Mixing it up - Some people like to combine two or three options. For example, you may choose to exercise alone on two or three days of the week, and train with a buddy or participate in a team sport on a couple of the other days.
Be realistic about your current health and level of fitness. If you are a beginner, the physical demands of some activities (like running) may be too much at first. Start with an easier activity like walking and plan to work your way up.
Choose at least a couple of activities to help keep you interested. You may get bored and lose motivation if you stick to only one form of physical activity.
Don't pick an activity solely because you think it would be "good" for you; enjoyment is the key to sticking to your plan.
Listen carefully to your body. Stop exercising and consult your doctor if you experience chest discomfort or pain, dizziness, severe headache, or any other unusual symptoms while you are exercising. If you are feeling fatigued or sick, take time off from your routine to rest. When you feel better you can ease back into your program.
Set specific short-term and long-term goals and be sure to celebrate every success.
Keep an activity log to track your progress. This will help keep you aware of your physical activity--what you did, how long you did it and how you felt during your activity.
Get support. Encourage your family and friends to support you and join you in your activity. Form walking groups with coworkers or friends, play with your children outside, or take a dance class with your brother or sister.