“I don’t enjoy exercise”
Fair enough. At the beginning, before it’s a habit, physical
activity may be uncomfortable or a hassle or just no fun.
So, make it fun — find something you like to do. Maybe
it’s dancing or gardening or walking at the mall or a local
nature preserve with a friend.
If you can’t identify an activity you like, take a class and
learn a new skill.
Another way to make exercise enjoyable is do it
with other people. If there’s not a walking group in your
neighborhood, start one. Many churches and senior
centers have exercise programs, join one. Activity shared
is activity reinforced.
Get your family involved. Let your kids ride their bikes
so you can move at a brisker pace. Or take the dog out for 20
minutes twice a day.
Take your cellphone and play your favorite music or
listen to a podcast or book. Phone a friend. If you use an
stationary bicycle, you can read a book or magazine or
Use variety to keep yourself interested. Walk one day, go
to the gym the next, swim the day after that, then go for a
bike ride on the weekend.
If keeping track motivates you, then record your times
and distances. And celebrate milestones — with non-
Once a month, visit a nature preserve or participate in a
And whatever you do, start slow and easy. Don’t rush
to challenge yourself. If it takes six weeks to work up to 30
minutes, so what! Nobody’s keeping score.
True enough, changing a habit is challenging, and
sometimes it feels inconvenient because old habits are
comfortable, and new habits are almost by definition not
But if we’re measuring inconvenience and discomfort,
surely heart disease is a lot more inconvenient and uncom-
fortable than 150 minutes a week of walking at 4 m.p.h.
Don’t make it complicated or expensive. Start with
walking! It’s easy and convenient, and it gets the job done!
• Walking is the simplest way to start and continue a
• Walking generally costs nothing to get started —
though if you don’t have walking shoes, get a pair.
• Walking is easy and safe.
It Gets the Job Done
• Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day benefits your
heart — even in 10 minute increments.
• Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise
to achieve heart health.
Make a commitment
Filling the exercise prescription is a gift you give yourself
and everyone who loves you. To stay focused on your
physical activity routine, make a contract with yourself.
Include these items: the amount of physical activity you
plan to do each week, the days and times you plan to do it
and any specific milestones you’d like to achieve, such as
participating in your first 5K race.
Be specific about your reasons for being more active —
like improving your endurance and overall health, reducing
your blood pressure or simply looking and feeling better.
Then post those reasons and your signed commitment where
you will see them and keep you motivated.
Here’s a sample commitment document you can fill in
My goal is to be active ____ minutes per
day, ____ days per week. I will do these
types of activities to meet my goals:
I am making this commitment for the
Your Signature Here
To stay focused on your physical activity
routine, make a contract with yourself.