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10 Tips to Getting Your Exercise Program off to a Good Start

By Steve Arterburn
New Life Ministries 1. See a doctor before beginning any exercise program. He or she will be able to certify that you’re healthy and maybe even give you tips about what exercise will be best for you as you begin.

2. Be honest about what you enjoy doing. If you hate to run, forget about jogging – take up dancing instead. The goal is movement, and there are a hundred different ways to move.

3. Be open to new ideas. For a period of two or three weeks, try a variety of different exercises: walking, aerobic exercising with a video, dancing, bicycling – whatever you can think of. Discover what you really enjoy.

4. Decide whether you’d do best in solo or corporate exercise. Some people love the motivation and camaraderie of a group; others prefer to sweat alone.

5. Make an exercise appointment with yourself. Mark it on your calendar. Once you become used to the schedule, you’ll feel something’s missing if you skip your exercise “date”.

6. Set aside some money. You’ll need it, if only for a good pair of exercise shoes – but don’t blow a small fortune on exercise equipment for your home until you’ve tried it somewhere else and you’re sure you’ll use it. Hint: Check the classified ads and yard sales for bargains from folks who bought equipment before they made regular exercise a habit!

7. Use rhythmic music. Movement is easier when you have a beat urging you forward. If you’re working on a treadmill or exercise bike, find something to take your mind off the repetitive motion. One of my friends reads on the exercise bike and watches movies while on the treadmill. If the movie’s good, she says, she scarcely notices how hard she’s working!

8. Keep setting new goals as you progress. Once you can walk a mile in twenty minutes, press toward the goal of walking that same mile in fifteen. Once you can do thirty sit-ups, set a new goal of forty.

9. Work slowly at first. This is especially important if you’re coming out of a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t expect to run a marathon after two weeks of training. It took me six months to prepare for the Big Sur Marathon, and I started my preparation in fairly good shape because I had already been exercising for a while. Just take it slow and easy, and don’t give up!

10. Work exercise into your life. Don’t drive around for twenty minutes hoping for a perfectly convenient parking spot; park at the back of the lot and walk to the store! Don’t take the elevator when you can take the stairs, and don’t just tap your foot to the music when you can clap too.

Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries has a variety of resources on men, women and relationships. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit

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