Ready to move more — and enjoy it more too? These simple schemes may help:

1. Commit to 10 minutes.

Do you have trouble getting started exercising? For some people, that can be the biggest hurdle to staying active. If that’s true for you, tell yourself you’ll give each workout 10 minutes. Then don’t be surprised if once you’re on the move you decide to stay with it longer.

2. Stick to a schedule. 

Add specific workouts to your appointment calendar — and consider them unbreakable dates. If you tend to be indecisive about exercise, this trick may do wonders.

3. Rely on the buddy system.

Find a workout pal who’s a good match for you. Someone counting on you may be all the motivation you need.

Prefer exercising alone? Enlist a partner in accountability. Agree to text or email each other when you complete a workout.

4. Create your own incentive plan.

Assign points for certain workouts. For example, you might give yourself one point for each 30 minutes of walking or cycling — and award another point for each 15 minutes of strength-training. Some fitness apps and wearable devices can do this type of tracking for you.

Set a weekly target — then reward yourself with something good and healthy for hitting your goal. A favorite magazine, a movie night, an hour of quiet me-time — whatever works for you.

Help boost the appeal of your plan by having long-term goals too. For instance, once you hit 100 points, you might get a massage or take a daytrip somewhere fun.  

5. Go for the win.

If you get fired up by a little healthy competition, consider these ideas:

  • Join a sports team or league — or compete with your workout pals.
  • Sign up for a charity 5K. You might call it a win if you beat a certain time or simply finish.
  • Challenge yourself to beat your personal best — maybe that’s the number of steps you logged yesterday.
  • Imagine an opponent: Outrun a tiger or zombies in the park. Or win a cycling road race — on your stationary bike.
6. Be your biggest fan. 

Positive self-talk can be powerful. So retrain your brain to switch from lack of confidence — “I am a slacker” or “I am never going to be good at this” to “I’ve got this!”

7. Picture yourself getting it done.

Visualize yourself doing each part of your workout.

While you’re at it, imagine how great it will feel to reach your fitness goals. Now that’s one nice trick!

What to do next

Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level. Get a handy checklist of four questions to ask your doctor about exercise at uhc.com/exercise-checklist.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should be construed as medical or other advice. Talk to an appropriate health care professional to determine what may be right for you.

Source: Last reviewed July 2017 © 2017 United HealthCare Services, Inc.