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How to Start a Fitness Program and St​ick to it

Strategies to help you stay on track.

If you've resolved to get fit this year, one of the best ways to start is by assessing your current fitness level so you can measure progress. Once you know where you stand, you can go about setting goals and designing your fitness program.

Know where you are starting from.

For example, some patients do not know what their body mass index (BMI) is. A BMI of 30 and over defines obesity, a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Define your personal fitness program.

Do you need to lower your BMI, improve muscle tone, or are you a healthy weight and just need to increase aerobic activity? Having clear goals can help you monitor progress.

Plan ahead.

Vague statements such as, “I will do more exercise” don’t work. Answer the “where, why, how, with whom, and when.” If calorie control is part of your program, plan ahead for grocery shopping and meal planning; don’t leave it to chance.

Don’t call your fitness program something you don’t like.

For example, avoid the word diet. Use meal plan instead. If exercise is a bad word in your dictionary, use cardio, aerobic activity or any other euphemism that gets you thinking positively.

In Houston, you must have indoor activity options for exercise.

The weather can prevent you from sticking to a program that is 100-percent outdoors. Try the Wii, dancing to your favorite music in an air-conditioned room or have one piece of indoor equipment such as a stationary bike.

Recruit your cheerleaders.

Enlist support from family, friends and co-workers, especially if they are also on fitness programs. Avoid people who try to sabotage you.

Reward yourself.

Plan a trip, special event or shop for new clothes, to celebrate the new you!​​

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Lucy Buencamino, MD

​It is important to know what is going on in my patients’ lives – how their families are and how they feel about work and life. Their physical and mental health is often a result of their environments.