You know you’re supposed to exercise. It’s good for your health and longevity, and exercise also makes it easier to achieve and maintain weight loss goals. But many people find that setting and keeping their exercise goals is nearly impossible. The key to success is to set good goals. Let’s talk about what a healthy exercise goal looks like, and then offer a few tips to help you get started right.

What is a Healthy Exercise Goal?

Doctors used to recommend doing 30 minutes of exercise each day, but that’s not always a good rule of thumb. In fact, if you do exercise 30 minutes a day but you sit the rest of the day, then you’re still at risk for “sitting disease,” which leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more.

Healthy exercise goals incorporate moving more. However, they also have to be specific, measurable, and attainable. For example, you could decide to start walking 10,000 steps each day. 10,000 steps equals approximately five miles; which makes a great first step for a healthy new year. Once you’ve reached this first goal and integrated the habit into your life, it’s time to add cardio and strength training. A walking habit combined with a consistent exercise program will help you stay in the best shape of your life – and it will add years to your lifespan.

Taking It Up a Notch

Both strength and cardio are recommended for strong muscles and fat burning. There are different types of fitness programs to consider. You can alternate between cardio days and strength days, or you can create a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program which allows you to do both cardio and strength in about 20 minutes.

The Key to Achieving Success

It’s vitally important that you set small and realistic goals for yourself. For example, if you decide that you’re going to run three miles every day, but you’re not running at all right now, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Running a mile and walking two miles every day for the first few weeks may be more attainable, or perhaps running three miles three times a week.

Find something that you love to do. If you hate running then don’t set a goal to run every day. Do an activity that makes you smile and you’ll stick with it. Give yourself some time off to recover during the week and track your progress. As you achieve each small goal, remember that it’s a building block to a larger target. And each new habit you create helps you live a healthier life.

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