Resolving to Exercise *

David A. Gershaw, Ph.D.

With the New Year, most of us make resolutions to do better. To improve our health, we might resolve to exercise. How can we maintain our resolution to exercise regularly?

One problem is that many of us make too many New Year's resolutions, rather than concentrating on one or two lifestyle changes. Also, the first few weeks of any change including exercising are the most difficult.

Benefits from exercising become noticeable within three weeks. First, the exercise will start to seem easier. In addition, your resting heart rate and blood pressure will decrease, and your metabolic rate how fast you burn calories will increase. You will have more energy during the day and be able to sleep better at night.

Unfortunately, half of those who start an exercise program quit within six months. Here are some hints to help you to continue to exercise.

Exercise for yourself, not for someone else.

If you stick with the exercise, your bigger rewards will not cost any extra money. Not only will you feel better physically you will feel better about yourself as a person.

* Adapted from Jeff Zwiefel's "How to Achieve Your New Year's Exercise Goals," Vitality, January, 1993, page 9.

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