Exercise: How to Stay Active

Build on the Benefits

Adjusting Your Routine

Once you start exercising and becoming more physically active, you'll begin to see results in just a few weeks. You'll feel stronger and more energetic, and you'll notice that you can do things easier, faster, or for longer than before. This tells you that your body is getting used to a higher level of activity. Now is the time to build on those benefits by adjusting your routine and doing more.

When you adjust your level of activity, remember to keep your starting point in mind and to review your goals, too. For some people, switching from 1- to 2-pound weights is a big step forward. For others, building up to walking briskly or even running is a reasonable goal.

How to Build on the Benefits

Ways to build on the benefits include

  • doing your current activities more often
  • doing your current activities longer, farther, or harder
  • adding new activities

Do the Activities More Often

  • Spend time in your garden more often.
  • Head over to the gym three times a week instead of two.
  • Walk every day.

Do the Activities Longer, Farther, or Harder

  • If you walk 30 minutes at lunch time every day, make it 40 minutes. If you only have 30 minutes for lunch, pick up the pace so you're walking faster and farther in the same amount of time.
  • Try using a pedometer, or step counter, to track your progress. Seeing the number of steps add up can be great motivation.
  • If you usually swim half a mile, build up to three-quarters of a mile.
  • Use a harder resistance band or heavier weights when you do strength exercises.

Add New Activities

Be creative. Try some new activities to keep your interest alive.

  • Sign up for dance lessons.
  • Talk to your friends about bowling together once a week.
  • Join a water aerobics class.
  • Check out an exercise video from the library, or check out several and do different ones on different days.
  • Save gas by walking to your nearby grocery store.
  • Can you trade in any of your electric appliances for muscle-powered versions: How about your electric can opener? Your electric lawn mower? Your electric leaf blower?