Moving Matters! Being Active

— By Kathy Savoie, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Kate Yerxa, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

This is the final blog post in the series focused on being more physically active. Each blog in the series will build on the information in the previous blog post to help you build physical activity as part of your daily routine.

Great job! You’ve made physical activity part of your daily life. You are planning physical activity into your daily schedule, being more physically active, replacing old habits with healthier habits, making your health number one, and learning that the benefits make up for the hard parts.

These positive changes will help you stay at a healthy weight and limit your risk of chronic disease, and you are setting a good example for your family. Be proud of yourself!

If you feel yourself slipping into old behaviors, here are some steps (pun intended) to help you stay on track.

Create balance in your life

  • Set goals that are within reach.
  • Vary your activity schedule. Make a list of activities that you have wanted to do and do them.
  • Remind yourself of all you have done and rather than tell yourself you should be faster or better.

Build support

  • Tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you have decided to become more active and let them know how they can help you.
  • Accept the support of people who are willing to help you.
  • Plan physical activity—like evening walks or weekend hikes—and ask others to join you.

Support yourself

  • Leave yourself cheerful notes. Leave a note in the car reminding you to park farther away.
  • Think of what you will say to people who don’t support you.
  • Make “to do” lists.
  • Set up activities in which others depend on you…even your pets! Start walking your dog and he will soon expect a daily walk and you will look forward to it too.

Keep your current level of activity

  • Review your goals. Set long-term goals (one year or longer) and short-term goals (three to six months).
  • Create a buddy system.
  • Promise yourself rewards that will motivate you. One reward is the pride you feel in being a healthier person!

You’re on the right track to a healthier life. You have thought about the benefits of physical activity, you made a physical activity plan, and you’ve made physical activity part of your daily life. Be proud of what you have accomplished and remember to create balance, build support, and support yourself so you can prevent roadblocks and keep your current level of activity.

Excerpted from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulletin Series #4550, Moving Matters