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How to Get Back in Shape

Avoid the pitfalls of trying to do too much too soon when you get back in shape after a long layoff. A modest increase in activity can lead to better overall health, fitness, and quality of life.


  • : Always consult a physician before attempting a new exercise plan.
  • Step 1: Start slowly Start slowly. Get clearance from a physician to evaluate your current condition, especially after not working out for a long time, adding weight, or giving birth.
  • Step 2: Buy new stuff Purchase new shoes and comfortable exercise clothing. Making an investment in workout clothes will give you extra motivation to use them. And consider working out with a friend to have someone to whom you're accountable on a regular basis.
  • Step 3: Choose fun activity Set short-term, obtainable goals in a consistent workout schedule, and choose an exercise or activity that you like to do. Start with light, short routines like a walk or jog 3 days a week.
  • Step 4: Record progress Record each of your workouts online or in a notebook so that you can track your progress. Once moving well again, gradually start working on your strength in the muscle groups. Document your progress with periodic photos of yourself.
  • TIP: Get your diet in shape by adding in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grain breads and pasta. Monitor your food intake to build energy and health.
  • Step 5: Build the routine Add to your cardio exercise routine, whether walking, running, lifting, or swimming. Play sports -- basketball, football, soccer, and so on -- to get a full workout. Create a new healthy lifestyle and readjust goals constantly as you improve.
  • Step 6: Reward yourself Reward yourself with a healthy snack and take occasional days off when you feel worn out to avoid injury.
  • Step 7: Enroll in classes Join a gym or an exercise class to make staying in shape a habit. Before you know it, you'll be in the best shape of your life.
  • FACT: On average, people who are considered obese pay $1,429 more in health-care costs than normal-weight individuals.

You Will Need

  • New clothes
  • Friend
  • Goals
  • Written record
  • Camera
  • Healthy diet
  • Rewards

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