June 22, 2018
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Eight ways to increase your physical activity

By Kevin DiDonato, Special to the BDN

Starting a fitness program can be a daunting task for inexperienced or even advanced exercisers.    The American Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week.  


Some benefits to becoming more physically active:

  1. You will feel better and improve your self-esteem.
  2. You will reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke.
  3. You will reduce your risk for developing diabetes and certain types of cancers.
  4. You will probably lower your blood pressure and cholesterol

Incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine will give you more energy, reduce stress levels and maybe even help shed a pound or two.  Here are some helpful tips to help you get off the couch and start becoming more physically active:

  1. Set aside time each day for exercise. Having a designated time will help you stay on track with your exercise plan.
  2. Have a plan. Work with you health care provider or a personal trainer to help develop the right plan for you, especially if you are new to exercise or have health-related limitations.
  3. Start slowly. Try doing 10 minutes of exercise to start with and add five minutes each week, until you can complete 30 minutes of exercise.  Even three 10-minute exercise sessions will count towards your goal.  
  4. Try strength training. Adding strength training to your workout routine will help you maintain muscle on your body which helps with weight control and endurance. .
  5. Work out with a partner. Enlisting a friend, family member or co-worker will help you stick to your exercise plan by holding you accountable and keeping you motivated.
  6. Utilize a journal. Keeping track of your activity and mood has been shown to help in adhering to a exercise program.
  7. Try something new. Mix it up with exercise videos or try taking a low-impact aerobics class at your local gym or YMCA.
  8. Have fun! Make sure that any activity you choose is safe and fun. This will help you maintain your exercise routine.

If you follow these tips, physical activity can be a rewarding part of your life for years to come.

Kevin DiDonato is a professional health educator and a certified personal trainer. His home-based business, Human Performance Lab in Ellsworth, provides private and semiprivate fitness training, nutrition counseling, boot camp training, and private or group Pilates classes.

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