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Get Moving This Year

Advice on how to keep your New Year's exercise resolution

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 1, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Here we are again -- that time of year when just about everybody makes yet another New Year's resolution to get more exercise.

If you're finally sincere about it, the International Council on Active Aging wants to help you. The council offers tips specifically aimed at helping older adults get physically active and stay that way.

They include:

  • Get a medical checkup before you start any exercise program.
  • Examine your exercise options. Pick an exercise program you know you'll enjoy so that you stick with it.
  • Start slowly. Don't try to do too much when you first start exercising.
  • Exercise with a friend. It will help keep you motivated.
  • Set specific short-term and long-term goals.
  • Make a list of the benefits you expect from your exercise program. Make sure your expectations are realistic.
  • Make another list of all the reasons for being physically active, such as decreasing stress, strengthening bones, improving strength and flexibility, greater independence, more energy, and better sleep.
  • If you plan to join a health club, check out the facility. Does it have friendly, helpful staff? How are the changing rooms? What kinds of programs are available?
  • Move all the time, even when you're not doing a structured workout. Stretch, walk, march in place, stand and sit as many times as possible when you're watching television or talking on the phone.
  • Tell your family and friends about your exercise goals and ask them for their support and encouragement.
  • Wear proper footwear.
  • If an exercise hurts, don't do it.
  • Focus on major muscle groups in your legs, chest and back.
  • Do balance exercises, as well as strength exercises.
  • Keep a journal of your exercise progress.
  • Park your car and walk whenever possible. Use stairs instead of elevators.
  • Reward yourself. When you've reached your goal, treat yourself with something that feeds your spirit -- not food or an expensive purchase.

More Information

Duke University has more about starting an exercise program.

SOURCE: International Council on Active Aging, news release, December 2002
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