Assess the exercise you have been getting—whether it is exercise for the sake of exercise, or exercise you get as part of your job or daily routine. For instance, if you walk up three flights of stairs each day to get to your office, consider that part of your current exercise program. Perhaps you have to walk two blocks from the train station to your apartment. Or you spend some time each day bending and lifting as you stock shelves. Maybe you spend time providing care for one or several active toddlers.

Decide what would fit into your schedule that would provide you with some increase in your daily physical activity—again, not too drastic. You might start by walking for ten more minutes. Or you might build a 20-minute bicycle ride into your day. Perhaps it would be 20 minutes more working outside in your garden.

Choosing the Right Exercise Program for You

When setting up an exercise program that is right for you, focus your attention on what you enjoy. If you are the kind of person who enjoys team support, you may want to sign up with the local softball league for some of your exercise. If solitary exercise feels best to you, think of things you can do by yourself. You may enjoy hiking but not swimming. A brisk ride on a bicycle may be perfect for you. Is it swimming, hiking, dancing, working out on exercise machines while watching videos, skating, outdoor chores like raking the lawn or cutting wood, walking, yoga? Any kind of exercise is acceptable!

You can do the same kind of exercise every day or vary it according to the weather, what you feel like and the things you need to get done. You may spend part of your exercise time doing one kind of exercise and part of the time doing another. You might work in the garden and then go for a walk. This makes exercise more interesting for some of us.

Health clubs are wonderful for people who enjoy exercising with others in an atmosphere that is pleasant and sociable. Joining a health club is a wonderful—but not a necessary—treat, should you be able to afford it. Don’t put off exercise until you have enough money to join a health club. Or until you can purchase expensive exercise clothing or equipment. Most exercise doesn’t take special clothing or equipment—just a lot of willpower.

It may help you to decide what kind of exercise you are going to do if you make a list of exercise options and post it in a convenient place. Then you can look at the list each day and decide how you are going to get your exercise that day. If it is raining, you may want to dance to your favorite CD rather than take your usual walk. If the softball team doesn’t have a game, you may want to catch up on outdoor chores.