You don’t have to be an exercise failure

Exercise is easy for younger people, but they often feel they don’t have time to walk two miles a day or play tennis.
Many older people have the time, but exercising is difficult and sometimes hurts. So every person has a different excuse. But none of the excuses are valid.
Young or old—exercise is critical for your health.
In my files, I have a manila folder labeled simply “Exercise.” The folder is filled with articles that laud the benefits of keeping active.
“Exercise Is the Key to Strong Bones,” “Housework and Walking Help Cancer Risk,” “Walking May Ward Off Alzheimer’s,” “Exercise May Help in Treating Depression” and “Sweating Makes You Smart.”
There was one other interesting article titled—“You Don’t Have to be an Exercise Failure”—that I clipped from Woman’s Day in 1988. An article as current today as it was 17 years ago.
The article says that just because you haven’t stuck to a fitness program before doesn’t mean you can’t get exercising now. It lists four exercise pitfalls and suggests ways to overcome them.
1. You exercise off and on. You faithfully begin walking daily or going to the gym three times a week. Then your schedule gets crowded or the weather gets bad and that’s the end of your exercising until the next time you feel guilty.
Solution: Don’t give up exercise when the weather gets bad or you are too busy. Just adjust your type of exercise. Go to the pool or walk on the treadmill while you watch your favorite television show.
2. You start off doing too much.
Solution: In exercise, like everything else, slow and steady works best. When I began water aerobics, my husband complained that I didn’t work hard enough.
And he was right. I didn’t work very hard. He, on the other hand, splashed and splattered water everywhere as he vigorously did his exercises.
But, he quit after nine months. I, conversely, am still at it after five years and am getting stronger all the time.
3. You set your goals too high.
Solution: If you want to lose 15 pounds quickly or you want to avoid knee surgery and exercise doesn’t seem to help immediately, don’t give up. Maybe it will take a little longer than expected. And even if you can’t lose the weight or it’s still difficult to walk, exercise is very important for your health.
4. You do the wrong exercises.
Solution: Make sure to pick an activity that you enjoy and that is easy for you. Don’t jog if you prefer walking. Don’t pick a solitary activity if you are a social person.
Experts say that the people who stick with exercise are the ones who choose a type that’s compatible with their lifestyle, personality, interests and health needs.
Even daily activities provide exercise. So, carry your own groceries, vacuum your house and walk to the corner store.
Although it’s often tempting to take the easy way and let others do your work, such a pattern will only cause you to lose strength, stamina and eventually your physical independence.
Even if you’ve never been physically fit, starting an exercise program late in life will help. You can’t afford to be an exercise dropout.
Copyright 2005 Marie Snider
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist. Write Marie Snider at or visit her website at

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