Planning for a healthier you!

Deciding to increase the level of physical activity can be more successful if you make a plan.

Thinking about losing a few pounds of excess body weight or just want to get in better physical condition? Following a healthy diet is a key part of the equation; however, usually an increase in physical activity, AKA: Exercise, is also very important says Michigan State University Extension.

First, make a plan. You will most likely never reach the goal of increasing your physical activity level unless you plan how you are going make this happen. Set yourself small, achievable goals starting out where you are currently at physically. If you have any health problems or are above the age of 60, check with your physician to make sure it’s okay to increase your physical activity level. Decide what you will do, when you will do it and how often you will do this activity. For example, you may decide to walk for five blocks right after arriving home from work on Mon., Wed. and Fri.

Update your plan regularly. You may be ready to increase how long you exercise or how hard you are exercising after the first week or it may take longer. Keeping a log of your activities is a good way to keep yourself on track. It may also help to tell someone else about your goal to help you be accountable.

Increasing your physical activity doesn’t have to cost a lot of extra money or even any money at all. Some ideas for physical activity with little or no cost are:

  • Purchase inexpensive exercise DVD’s to use in your living room at home. Invite your family or friends to join you.
  • Walk around the neighborhood with your dog, spouse, children or a friend.
  • Find indoor places to walk such as at a mall.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Purchase a used tread mill or elliptical machine if you have a place to keep it where you will see it and set goals for using it every week.
  • Clean your house; washing floors and walls can burn quite a few calories.
  • Shovel snow, if you are physically able to do so.
  • Climb stairs at work instead of taking the elevator. Take an extra flight up and down the stairs when you arrive at work, when you leave for lunch and when you leave for the day.
  • Join an exercise class at your community center or recreation center.

Most importantly, move your body. You will burn more calories, possibly take off some pounds and most importantly, you will feel better.

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