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Wanting to get back in shape is one thing; actually doing it is another.

Here are a few tips to move past best intentions. Your best ally in this endeavour is consistency. It may even be the catalyst to your needing to exercise.

  • Plan a workout schedule.
    On top of taking every opportunity to move, add workouts to your agenda. This way they’ll become a priority, if not a habit.
  • Avoid postponing workouts to tomorrow.
    No excuses: keep in mind why you want to improve your physical health. The investment is worth it!
  • Make workouts fun.
    In the winter, taking a walk in the sun, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or even tobogganing with the kids are all extremely fun physical activities.
  • Here’s a little tip, ladies (and gentlemen, too): get yourselves comfortable exercise clothes and listen to upbeat music. You’ll see how that gives you all the motivation you need to get moving!
  • Think about your health at various times throughout the day.
    Read a story about someone who has overcome major obstacles to reach their goal. Post inspirational quotes or photos on your fridge to keep you motivated!
  • Don’t forget: the joy of working out increases over time. Persevere: not only will you get results, but you’ll discover the joy of staying in shape.


Caution is required. I recommend answering the questions below. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, consult a physician before engaging in physical activity.

Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q)

(Reference: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology)

  • Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only perform physical activity recommended by a doctor?
  • Do you feel pain in your chest when you perform physical activity?
  • In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not performing any physical activity?
  • Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?
  • Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity?
  • Is your doctor currently prescribing any medication for your blood pressure or heart condition (e.g., diuretics)?
  • Do you know of any other reason why you should not engage in physical activity?

Calculate your heart rate.

When at rest, place your index and middle finger on your radial or carotid artery; you should feel your pulse. Using a watch, count the number of heart beats in 10 seconds. Note the result in the following formula:

Number of heart beats/10 seconds_____ x 6 = ____ beats/minute

The heart beats an average of 72 times per minute. If your pulse is quicker, regular physical activity could help your heart become stronger and more efficient!


In the mood for a walk? Challenge yourself: alternate bouts of power walking with brisk walking.

The four components of a workout

Walking is definitely a great way to get back in shape, but it’s also possible to follow a complete training program at home. Here are four elements to include in your workout:

  1. Warm up: 10 minutes
  2. Cardio: About 20 minutes
  3. Weight training: About 20 minutes
  4. Stretching and cool down: 10 minutes

A workout shouldn’t exceed one hour. You should ideally recuperate before your next workout. To begin, three times a week is ideal!

Ready. Set. Go!

Sophie McGreevy