Warmer weather often draws many people outside to start an exercise program, walking and running are great ways to integrate physical activity into your life, and along with  weight loss plans they can help you improve your health.

The Mayo Clinic outlines five steps to help people improve their fitness, and they are a great foundation that people can build on as they work to reach their goals.

How Fit Are You Today?

weight-lossYou might have some idea, but by creating quantifiable benchmarks you can assess your progress moving forward. What is your pulse rate after you walk one mile? How many pushups can you do? What is your waist size?

Knowing the answers to those questions will give you a starting point to help you measure progress. Additionally, consider your limitations. If for example, you suffer from severe allergies, an outdoor program might not be the best choice. However, some people do take advantage of things like balloon sinuplasty to improve their breathing before they embark on an exercise program.

Design a Fitness Program

It is important to have a plan that can help you reach your goals. If you are losing weight your fitness plan will differ from someone preparing for a marathon. For people who generally want to improve their health, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity is a great guide. Balance your routine with strength training and aerobic exercises and give yourself time to recover.

150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity is a great guide

Get the Gear

If you are running or walking, pick comfortable shoes with support and cushioning. If you are investing in equipment, try different options out before settling on your purchase.

Get Moving

Take it easy at first— fitness is a process. Be sure to warn up before and to cool down afterwards. Change your routine up to keep you engages and don’t be afraid to take a day off if you don’t feel well.

Keep Track of Your Progress


Six weeks after you start your fitness program, take another look at your progress. You might need to change your program to reach your goals, or you might find you are ahead of schedule. IF you get bored with one activity, try something new.

Having a plan will help you stay on track and build good fitness habits to carry you year after year.