Though you may face challenges if you’re carrying excess weight or haven’t been active in a long time, you can still get fit and gain all the benefits that exercise has to offer.
The easiest way to get started is with walking because it’s low-impact and low-risk, and all you need is a pair of supportive walking or running shoes.
Begin by scheduling one dedicated walk each day, and then find opportunities to take additional steps, like going window-shopping at lunch or walking in place instead of sitting while watching TV. You might like the impetus of a home treadmill, which you can set at a slow speed to start.
The most important thing is to set up “accountability measures” like telling loved ones of your goals and scheduling exercise time into your calendar each day, said Phillip Adler, a certified athletic trainer with the Spectrum Health Medical Group Sports Medicine Program.
“We all have cell phones: Write it into your schedule and set reminders. That’s the first step,” Adler said.
In addition, telling people of your goals creates “that second layer of accountability” because now there are people who expect you to workout and will encourage you to stay on your plan.
Another simple way to exercise at home is to get more dynamic with everyday activities. For example, pick up the pace as you do household chores, and work in sessions that are at least 10 minutes long.
You can also dive into exercise by working out in water, whether you swim or take a water fitness class. Water makes you feel lighter and more agile, so many people find it easier to move in a pool than on dry land.
Riding a stationary bike is also less strenuous on your body than weight-bearing exercises, even walking. Try a recumbent bike; its seat is lower to the ground and your legs will be extended, which may feel more comfortable to you.
Just don’t let enthusiasm put you at risk of burnout by doing too much too soon. Increase the length and the intensity of your workouts at a slow, steady pace as you progress.