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.