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Exercise: Starting Up and Sticking With It
By Melissa Mattucci Lindberg, M.S. Exercise Physiology

Melissa Mattucci Lindberg, M.S.If you've made the decision to begin exercising, you're already half way there. So where do you begin? How do you stay on track?

The key to being successful, both short term and long term, is to do what works for you.

Set Goals
Goals need to be SMART- specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Start with a simple, short term goal. For example: I want to compete in, and finish a 5K within the next 2 months.

As you progress, small goals should continue to grow into larger goals until ultimately you reach your long term goal. Write down each goal, and check them off as you achieve each one. Not only will this remind you of your accomplishment, but it will continue to push you to make newer, more challenging goals.

Schedule Exercise
Schedule your workout just like you would a lunch date, work meeting, or medical appointment. Setting a specific time most days of the week will ensure that you exercise regularly, even on busy days. Also, keep in mind that you should choose a time that fits you and your schedule. If you're not a morning person, a 6:15 a.m. cycling class may not be the best choice. Instead, try to take a walk on your lunch break or take a group exercise class in the early evening hours.

Choose the Right Activities
Variety is the spice of life. The same holds true for exercise. The more variety you have in your workout the better. If you enjoy running on an elliptical, then keep it up, but don't rely on that as your only option.

It's important to understand that exercise comes in all shapes and forms. Physical activity, whether it's hiking in a park, swimming laps, or participating in a yoga class, is exercise. When planning your activities, keep it simple: The best workouts are those that incorporate some strengthening components (weights or resistance bands), aerobic components (running, swimming, biking), and flexibility components (stretching). Always begin with a few minutes of warm up and end with a few minutes of cool down, and keep in mind to work at your own pace.

There are a lot of factors to consider when starting a workout routine. Remember to use the information above as a guideline to get started. If you feel overwhelmed, scale back, DO NOT QUIT!

The Community & Recreation Center located at 1551 Mayview Road is open to both Upper St. Clair and surrounding community residents. For more information, visit our website at www.twpusc.org/crc/crc-home or call (412) 221-1099. Melissa Mattucci Lindberg is Marketing/Membership Services Supervisor.

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