• Health & Wellness

    Mayo Clinic Minute: How to jump-start your workout

Many people promise to exercise more in the new year, but jump-starting your workout routine can be challenging if you've been sitting on the couch for a while. It can seem like a daunting task.

Dr. Nathan LeBrasseur, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic, says it's never too late to get moving, even if you're an older adult.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:55) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

Starting a workout program or being physically active takes motivation and commitment. The key is to start slowly and do something you take pleasure in.

"If you hate swimming, don't try to start to become a swimmer. But (if) you enjoy dancing or other activities (such as) gardening, those are forms of activity that once you engage in, you increase your consistency and compliance that will have the most health benefits," says Dr. LeBrasseur.

a smiling older woman seated on a yoga mat, doing stretches

Being active can build muscle strength and improve cognitive and cardiovascular health.

"Three percent or 30 minutes a day of our waking hours, if we commit that to physical activity, will have huge benefits," explains Dr. LeBrasseur.

And for those young at heart, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

"As we get older, dedicating time, purposeful time, to getting some form of aerobic exercise or endurance exercise, like walking or cycling or swimming, and also getting some form of strength training is critically important," says Dr. LeBrasseur.

Tips to get started and stick with a workout plan:

  • Research workout routines.
  • Schedule your workouts.
  • Find an exercise buddy.
  • Be consistent.