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TIP: Exercise: Get Up Off the Couch!


Exercise is good for the body and the mind.  It prevents diseases and increases energy.  Exercise also releases feel-good chemicals in your body to boost your mood and decrease your stress.  It can even make you think more clearly and be more creative. 

If we know that exercise is good for us, why is it so hard to do sometimes?  Maybe your schedule is so jam-packed that when you have a few minutes to yourself, you just want to relax.  Maybe you haven't found that one type of exercise that is enjoyable or motivating to do.  Maybe you would rather watch Netflix and eat a snack than go outside and take a walk.

Here are suggestions that might help you to get started with an exercise routine:

  • Get Moving
    Lots of people struggle when it comes to working out.  It can be hard to start up a new routine and stay dedicated to it over time.  Start off small.  Go for a short walk each day, use the stairs instead of the elevator, jog in place during while watching TV.  Every little bit helps.  

    Once you get something going on a regular basis, it will be easier to keep it up.  Think about walking to school instead of getting a ride, offer to help mow the lawn or shovel snow, bike to a friend's house.  Eventually you might even be able to run a 5K…or maybe not. You don't have to aim too high to start getting healthy through exercise.  You just need to do something.
  • Don't Do Too Much
    For some people, exercise can be an obsession.  They work out all the time, spend hours in the gym, take substances to bulk up, or run until they're physically sick or injured.  Sometimes exercise stops being about health and gets focused only on results – numbers on a scale, clothing sizes, the mass of your muscles, or the reflection in the mirror.  

    Basing your fitness routine entirely on how you want to look afterwards is not necessarily the right goal.  Everyone's body is different, and what is healthy for one person can look much different than for another.  
  • Moderation
    As with all things, moderation is best when it comes to exercise.  Consistency with a small amount of movement can be better in the long run, than sporadic bursts of intense action.  You will also be more likely to stay motivated this way, and your body will appreciate the regular physical maintenance.  Moderation when exercising differs by person. Don't be tempted to compare yourself to classmates and friends. 

If you think of exercise as being about your health, it can help keep things in perspective.  Feeling better and being more confident in how you look is the reward for being healthy and fit.

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