Many people find that having a firm goal in mind motivates them to move ahead on a project. Goals are most useful when they are specific, realistic, and important to you. Your success depends on setting goals that really matter to you. Write down your goals, put them where you can see them, and review them regularly. Consider both short- and long-term goals.


Short-term goals will help you make physical activity a regular part of your daily life. For these goals, think about the things you need to get or do to be physically active. For example, you may need to buy walking shoes or fill out an activity log so you can figure out how to fit physical activity into your busy day. Make sure your short-term goals will really help you be active.


After you write down your short-term goals, you can go on to identify your long-term goals. Focus on where you want to be in 6 months, a year, or 2 years from now. Long-term goals also should be realistic, personal, and important to you.


Here are some quick and easy ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine:

  • Start a walking regimen with a friend or family member
  • Join an intramural or senior sports league in your community
  • Visit your local community center and join an exercise or dancing class
  • Go for a swim at your community pool
  • Walk or ride your bicycle for daily errands
  • Garden and do yard work for light exercise
  • Go to the gym, talk to a trainer, and try something new
  • Try yoga or tai-chi for physical and mental exercise
  • Go for a hike on a local trail or join a bird-watching group

Remember, you don’t have to do all of your daily exercise at once. Recent studies have shown that with just three 10-minute walks a day, you can achieve the same health benefits as taking one 30-minute walk.6 So look for small ways to be more active in your daily life—simple decisions like taking the stairs, parking further away from the store, and taking the dog for a walk are all ways to fit in some exercise without making a major time commitment. Most of all, make sure whatever activity you choose is something you enjoy.

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