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The American Chiropractic Association recently released five strategies to help people establish a more active lifestyle.
- Just start moving. According to Matthew Dimond of the ACA, the type of exercise is less important than whether or not a person is moving. In his words: “Make it fun.”
- Be consistent. After getting started, the most important thing is consistency. “The human body—and the human mind for that matter—like normalcy,” DiMond explains. “Wherever you currently are is what your body likes to do. The initial effort can be monumental; being consistent with it will create a habit.”
- Be accountable. Consider finding an exercise partner or activities that involve other people. Such connections can often inspire, drive, and motivate people to focus on their health goals and move forward.
- Be safe. When starting to move again after being inactive, assume you will not be as physically fit as you once were. Be aware of your limits and focus on what works for you, rather than comparing yourself to others or to your previous fitness level. Also be mindful of any pain you experience.
- Identify your motivation. Motivation can be a challenge for people who start to move after a period of inactivity. “Willpower is not enough,” DiMond says. He encourages people to define their goals in terms of “what” instead of “why.” Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish and create measurements based on that goal. Do you want to run a 5K? Do you want to walk your dog every day or be able to pick up your grandchild? Determine your “what” and set metrics to achieve it.