Make That New Year's Fitness Resolution Stick

Find an exercise that you love and seek out support from friends, experts advise

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

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MONDAY, Dec. 31, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- As 2008 dawns, many Americans over 50 will resolve to start a new fitness program.

Experts at the International Council on Active Aging offers tips for helping to keep that resolve:

  • Get a checkup first to get your doctor's OK on starting an exercise program and to find out if you need to consider any special modifications.
  • Before you start a program, explore your options. Select something you'll enjoy, which will improve the chances that you'll stick with it.
  • Start slowly. If you go too hard at first, you can become sore and may be discouraged from continuing with your fitness program.
  • Try to make exercise dates with friends. This will help you stick to your program and stay motivated.
  • Set specific short- and long-term goals for advancing your exercise program.
  • Make a list of what you expect to gain from your fitness program, such as losing a certain number of pounds. Keep your expectations realistic, or you may be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
  • If you plan on joining a fitness club/facility, carefully check out the atmosphere, amenities, equipment, programs and staff. Talking to other older adults who are members is a good way to get information that can help you decide if the club/facility is appropriate for you.
  • Create a support network of family and friends who will provide encouragement.
  • If an activity causes you pain, stop doing it. Never try to work through pain, work around it.
  • Follow a well-rounded program that includes warm-up, flexibility, cardio, resistance and cool-down.
  • Reward yourself when you achieve your goals. It should be something that feeds your spirit but not necessarily food or an expensive purchase.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about exercise for older adults.

SOURCE: International Council on Active Aging, news release, December 2007

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