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How Do I Start?

Por Ana C. López, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ -

If you find yourself in the situation where days fly by and you still haven't managed to get yourself in gear despite your intentions to start exercising, just follow these recommendations:

  • Choose an activity you like in order to stay motivated.In addition, choose an activity that adapts to your characteristics and abilities. For example, if you've had a knee injury, then it's best to practice a low-impact activity such as  walking or swimming instead of running or aerobics.
  • Introduce variety into your routine.This will prevent you from getting bored of always doing the same thing. Also, if you're always exercising the same muscle groups, you a greater risk of injuring yourself than if you vary the areas you work out.
  • Manage your time.You're more likely to stick to your exercise routine if you program specific times and days during the week for working out than if you wait until you have free time each day. In addition, it's a good idea to decide ahead of time the proper moment each day for exercising depending on the weather and other activities you may have.
  • Find a workout buddy.Sharing this moment with someone you like not only keeps you more entertained, but also helps you to mutually persevere.
  • Start gradually.Sometimes we think that we have to give our utmost effort during the first exercise session. But in reality, all we gain is an  injury or terrible muscle pains that prevent us from doing anything the following day. Take it easy and start little by little. If you haven't exercised in a long time, you can start with 10-minute sessions each day and slowly increase by 5 minutes each week until you reach your time goal. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommend at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week. Thus, a proper and realistic goal is to do 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 times a week. Remember that doing highly intense exercise only increases the risk of injury and it will probably lead you to quit your routine early. It's best to do a moderately intense exercise routine for longer periods of time.
  • Wear proper workout clothes.You don't have to buy expensive clothes;  just try to choose light and comfortable garments that allow you to sweat properly. It's not advisable to wear waterproof clothing for working out because it won't let the body properly regulate its temperature and could affect your performance and comfort.

Finally, remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise plan, especially if you suffer from any cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, or if you're over 40 years old or pregnant.

Don't think twice! Follow these recommendations and start enjoying the benefits of exercise.

Cited Literature:

  1. American College of Sports Medicine (2007). Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65. Reviewed June, 2008 from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). Physical Activity for Everyone. Reviewed June, 2008 from


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