The Key Ingredient to Exercise Success is Variety

Tyne said most people could jump-start their exercise program by following these guidelines:

  • Change the way you view exercise. Count everything you do as working toward your goal. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the store when you are shopping.
  • Don't overdo it. Initially, work until you are tired, instead of for a set period of time. This gives your body time to adjust to the exercise. As you improve, exercise longer or speed up the movements.
  • Set daily goals for three months. The most important goal is to be consistent and to make exercise a habit.
  • Do a variety of exercises, and try new ones. Doing the same routine for too long can lead to boredom and hurt motivation. Adding new exercises may keep you interested.
Dr. Miriam E. Nelson, author of "Strong Women Stay Slim" (Bantam Books, $11.95), said those who find themselves in a fitness rut shouldn't let it last.

"It's almost impossible to follow a long-term diet and exercise plan without having problems from time to time," Nelson said in the book. "The answer isn't to avoid setbacksthat's impossiblebut to make sure they're temporary."

She suggests focusing on motivation and writing down your goals.

"Think about why you want to get fitter and lose weight. Are you trying to look better? Are you concerned about your health because your mother developed diabetes when she was your age?"

Nelson said your journal or list of goals should be read often to keep you motivated.

Harden believes her views on exercise have changed.

"This is a lifestyle change. This is something that I intend to do as long as I can hobble along," Harden said.

Most people find themselves in fitness ruts because exercising isn't always fun, said Ron Useldinger, founder of Fitness Motivation Institute of America. The less you exercise, the harder it becomes to exercise, he said.

"If you don't do something every day, you're losing at it every day," said Useldinger, who now owns a consulting business. "Most people, unfortunately, will not exercise on a regular basis for the rest of their lives."

"It's going to have to be done daily," Useldinger said. "It's like brushing your teeth. If you could just do a couple of minutes a day. You would feel better physically and psychologically.

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