How to Start a Successful Exercise Program

December 27, 2023

It’s hard to stick to an exercise program.

Life is busy, consumed with work, family and friends. Or maybe you don’t like working out. Maybe you’re a morning person and have to be at work early, so getting a workout in before you leave for your job just won’t work.

But your overall health depends on you getting up and moving. Regular exercise helps control weight, decrease diseases, improve your mood and boost energy levels.

Here are four tips to create a program that suits your lifestyle, so you can reap the benefits of moving your body.

Squeeze it in

Lots of people can’t carve out one-hour blocks of time in their day to hit the gym, so bring the gym to you.

Use the steps instead of taking the elevator. Take a five-minute break every hour and go on a short, brisk walk. As you’re sitting at your desk, do some ab work. In the morning, do a strengthening routine at home. At night, stretch for 10 minutes.

Working short bursts of activity into your day is just as effective as longer workouts.

Build your strength

Maybe you’ve figured out how to fit in a 30-minute walk every day. Now add strength training to your routine. As little as 10 to 20 minutes of strength work done every day will go a long way.

Start with simple exercises like arm circles, squats, knee push-ups and crunches. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise, and then repeat the circuit all over again. Over time, add another set to the training.

Learn to like it, not love it

If you’re someone who absolutely hates exercise, you may never love working out, but you could learn to like it, or at least the effect it has on your health. That’s ok. What’s important is that you’re exercising.

On busy days, try squeezing in one or two brisk walks that last for at least 10 minutes. On days when you have the time, go for a longer, 30-minute walk outside or on the treadmill. Do this twice a week. Add two strength-training sessions per week.

Make exercise fun by adding a buddy or working out with your significant other. Play tennis, hike or go for a bike ride – anything that involves movement.

Get creative

Trying to squeeze in a workout is hard, so think about ways to incorporate movement as you do other activities.

Run up and down the stairs or do some stand-in-place aerobic movements while watching TV. Do squats while doing the dishes. Tighten your stomach muscles in intervals while sitting at your desk.

There’s no limit to what you can do when you get creative about working out. Whether you’re tight on time, hate working out or are always busy, you can find ways to move more, get stronger and feel more energetic, which will help you control health care costs, too.

If you have questions about health care or the health insurance marketplace, contact UROne Benefits™ at 800-722-7331.


This post was originally published in March 2017; updated December 2023.