Planning for physical activity increases likelihood of meeting goals

If you have difficulty fitting exercise into your schedule, make a physical activity "date" with yourself and add it to your calendar!

Planning and actually finding time for physical activity each day can be challenging! Work, meetings, children’s activities, cooking, shopping…all of these things take time and sometimes your physical activity is the first thing crossed off your mental to-do list when you are very busy. If you have a work schedule that varies from day to day or week to week, it can be difficult to establish a daily routine that includes physical activity. Planning ahead can be a first step to achieving the goal of increasing your physical activity.

First, find an activity that you enjoy. Whether it’s an organized sport such as soccer or basketball or something like going for a walk or attending an exercise class, think about what you like to do. If you enjoy dancing for example, then maybe a dance exercise class would work for you. If you have a varied schedule, consider investing in an exercise DVD that appeals to your interests so you can exercise when YOU have the time for it.

Another helpful tip is to write your physical activity time on your calendar of activities. It’s a lot easier to say no to another appointment if you already have the time scheduled for your physical activity. If you like to work out in the morning, try getting up a half hour earlier to fit in your physical activity. On the other hand, if you like to exercise later in the day, consider trying to exercise right after work. A good suggestion is to prepare a meal that takes 45 minutes to cook in the oven. While your meal is cooking, you can fit in your exercise time.

Set realistic goals for your physical activity. If you haven’t been exercising at all, first check with your physican to make sure you are physically able to exercise. Then try to start slow; 20 to 30 minutes every other day or three times a week is a good way to start. Check out the internet for apps that will help you to track your progress. There are many to choose from! ChooseMyPlate.gov has a Super Tracker to help you keep track of your progress for both your physical activity and your diet.

The bottom line is, the best way to start getting more physically active is to just start doing it. Schedule yourself some time to exercise, get a good pair of shoes and start slowly. You will be glad you did!

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