We’re all aware being physically active is important to our health. But many of us don’t know where to
begin or feel like it’s just too hard to get in shape. But the reality is, any amount of physical activity can
jumpstart health benefits. It’s more likely you will stick with a routine if you start slowly and work your
way into more activity. Being physically active can help improve your cholesterol, has cardiovascular
benefits, strengthens your bones, helps you gain muscle, helps lower stress, improves your mood,
increases your overall energy level, and boosts your immune system. Here’s some ideas to get you
- Find a workout buddy. It’s more fun to work out with a friend. Plus, there is an added benefit of
having someone to hold you accountable…and someone to keep you motivated and to share the
- Join a health club. Again, where there is a social aspect to your workout, it makes it more
enjoyable. It helps you keep going. Try a group exercise class. These types of classes allow you to
meet people and help you become part of the “community.” Do you have a commute? Consider joining a gym near your office. That way you can drive there before rush hour, get your workout in, and then have a short ride to work. It’s a good feeling when you get your workout done first thing in the morning.
- Get a dog. Dogs love going for walks. Your furry friend will help you keep a routine! They’re
sure to let you know when it’s time for a walk or run.
- Pick an event that you’d like to participate in in several months’ time to give yourself a goal. It
could be a long hike, a 5k, a bike tour or just trying to get in shape for a beach vacation or a
wedding. Having a goal will help keep you from skipping your workout. Make sure to put a
reminder of that goal somewhere you see it every day to keep you on track!
- Make your goals attainable. Don’t go crazy. Set goals that won’t overwhelm you.
- Don’t go straight home after work. Create a routine where you meet someone to walk/run/bike
or stop at the gym. Once you get home, there are too many distractions and you’re more likely
to skip your workout.
- Start slowly. Start with a 20-30 minute walk before you get ready for work, on your lunch break,
or on your way home. Now you created that block of time. It is easier to go from a 30 min walk
to a 30 min run or an hour walk than to go from nothing to an hour workout. If you are
intimidated by a 20-30 minute workout, take baby steps to work yourself up to that point. Park
further away so you have to walk more or take the stairs.
- Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it. Just start walking. Or go to a gym and take a class. Any
amount of physical exercise is better than none.
- Find something you enjoy. There are so many ways to work out, but you might need to try a
few things before you find what you enjoy. Walking, running, biking, swimming, paddleboarding,
lifting, taking fitness classes, rowing, hiking, rock climbing…the options are endless.
- Don’t hesitate to change things up if you find you get yourself into a rut. Cross training is great
for your overall fitness, allows you to use different muscle groups, and helps you keep from
- Schedule your workout on your calendar. You’re more likely to actually do the workout if you’ve already set aside the time.
- Reward yourself! Go out with others from your group exercise class. Plan a trip around your goal
activity, like a hike at a destination you’ve been wanting to travel to or a vacation race in a spot
you have been wanting to visit. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to train with
Mike Nahom is a certified Level 2 USATF Distance & Track Coach with over 20 years coaching experience. He is a former collegiate D1 All American, a 5-time winner of the NM 8 Mile Road Race, and a former National and World Champion in the Xterra Off Road Triathlon Championships.