◆Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
◆Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. Walk more slowly for the first few minutes.
◆Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.
If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance.
Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!
How do I continue to be active?
TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:
◆Pledge to be active. Making a commitment to yourself to be active may help you stay motivated, stay on track, and reach your goals. Consider using the activity pledge at the end of this booklet to help you start and continue to be active.
◆Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 to 10 minutes, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal may be to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity at a moderate-intensity level (one that makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you) on most days of the week. You can break up your physical activity in shorter segments of 10 minutes or more.
◆Set rewards. Whether your goal was to be active for 15 minutes a day, to walk farther than you did last week, or simply to stay positive, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Some ideas for rewards include a new CD to motivate you, new walking shoes, or a new outfit.
◆Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on and help you stick with it.
◆Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can make copies of the blank journal at the end of this booklet to keep track of your efforts.