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Categories > Exercise and Fitness > Getting started exercising

18 ways to make activity a daily habit

If you’re just starting…

  1. Consider walking. It’s cheap (the price of a good pair of walking shoes) and easy to fit into your day.
  2. Buy a pedometer. This inexpensive gadget hooks to your waistband and counts your every step. Work your way up to 10,000 steps a day. Knowing every step counts keeps you aware of your goal.
  3. Get fidgety. Pace while you’re on the phone, watching your kids’ soccer game or waiting for the bus.
  4. Go somewhere interesting. Drive to a picturesque, walker-friendly area and enjoy some new scenery.
  5. Schedule it. Whatever your chosen activity, make an appointment with yourself to do it daily.
  6. Buddy up. Exercise with a friend, your spouse, your kids—anyone who’ll hold you to your commitment.
  7. Move to music, the ultimate motivator! Download songs with fast beats into your iPod.
  8. Make more work for yourself. Avoid shortcuts in your everyday routines. For instance, take more than one trip up the stairs to put away the laundry.
  9. Play. If you have kids, great! If not, borrow some. Play catch, climb trees, jump rope, try pool tag.
  10. Change with the seasons. Swim in the summer. Rake leaves in the fall. When winter comes, go ice skating or try indoor volleyball. Come springtime, put on the work gloves and clean the house, the yard or the garage.
  11. If you already exercise regularly…

  12. Reprogram your listening habits. Instead of music, listen to a book on tape while walking.
  13. Get better. Take a private lesson or hire a personal trainer for some customized pointers.
  14. Get competitive. Take your sport to the next level. Sign up and train for a race or walkathon (many are for good causes). Join a local team; check your YMCA, YWCA or health club for leads.
  15. Mix it up. If you’ve always biked alone, check out a cycling club. If you regularly work out with a friend, try a solo session once a week.
  16. Cross train. Work different muscles and feel the power of your body in a new way. If you’re a runner, try racquetball. If you lift weights, give ballroom dancing a whirl.
  17. Plan an exercise vacation. Consider ski trips, bike excursions, hikes and city walking tours.
  18. Push harder. Exercising at least 30 minutes or more on most days? Up your intensity or go longer. Mix in some yoga for flexibility or free weights for strength.
  19. Reward yourself. When you hit an exercise milestone, treat yourself to a new outfit, aromatic bath salts or a massage.