Starting a New Fitness Routine

In the New Year, many of us are trying to kick-start healthier habits and get in shape.

Starting a new fitness routine can sometimes be just as hard as sticking to one. You might find it difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, muster the motivation to work out, or find an activity that is fun for you.1

Many people abandon their fitness goals in the face of these challenges, so here are some tips for starting a new fitness routine that you’re more likely to stick with into February and beyond:

  • Remember that anything that gets your heart rate up (aerobic activities) and helps you build muscle (strengthening activities) is worthwhile exercise.2 If jogging and lifting weights don’t appeal to you, vigorous dance sessions and yoga classes can offer you the same benefits as these more traditional forms of exercise.
  • You don’t have to hit the ground running (figuratively speaking, that is!). If you have been inactive for a while or are new to an activity, it’s important to start slow and build up your strength, stamina, and confidence before increasing your exercise time and intensity.2
  • Don’t have time in your schedule to exercise? Consider working exercise into your daily routine—for example, ride a bike instead of driving to the grocery store or use part of your lunch break to take a walk.1
  • Sometimes the best motivation is other people. Working out as part of a class or with friends can help make exercise a fun social activity rather than a chore.1 Also, dog owners have been shown to be in better shape than those who aren’t going on regular walk with a canine friend, so if you have or are considering adding a dog to your family, keep this fitness perk in mind.3

  1. “Adding Physical Activity to Your Life,” Centers for disease Control, 2011,
  2. “Tips to Help You Get Active,” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, No. 06–5578, 2013,
  3. Carol Church, Dog-Owning Teens Get More Exercise, FAR1320, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013,
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Web Writer at IFAS Communications

Sam is originally from California and has her BA in linguistics and MFA in poetry. She loves art, animals, culture, and learning about science.

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