For many Canadians, exercise is a part of their daily routines – whether it’s going to the gym or going for a walk – with some opting to exercise before work, while others opt to exercise after work, or even in-between. For others, finding and sticking to an exercise routine can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes it’s simply the result of being too tired and not having enough energy, or you might be lacking in motivation.

First and foremost, make sure you’re doing it for yourself. Don’t go into a fitness plan simply because you want to get in shape and look better at that next high school reunion. With this type of mindset, you are much less likely to stick to your exercise routine and stop when you feel you’ve met your goal. Exercise is something that we should all engage in on a regular basis no matter what the reason.

Secondly, find an activity you like. If you prefer to be outdoors, go for a walk in your neighbourhood or hike at a local trail. Many parks also have walking tracks. Outdoor physical activity can also include playing certain sports, such as tennis, basketball, baseball, or soccer. If you’re someone who prefers to be indoors, try joining a gym or your local community centre, as many also offer different types of fitness equipment – even swimming pools. If you feel self conscious about working out around other people, it’s just as easy to implement physical activity in your own home. This can be done by purchasing weights, doing yoga, or doing pilates.

My third suggestion would be to start slow. If you’re not used to exercise, going all-in might be difficult, and also make you more likely to want to give up and quit. You are also at an increased risk of developing an injury if you overexert yourself right away. So start with baby steps. For example, beginning with 20-minute workouts, then increasing them by 10 minutes to 30 minutes, and so on and so forth. You do not need to have strenuous workouts in order to stay healthy. It’s also a good idea to do stretches before working out, as this will help to loosen the muscles and ligaments, and also help prevent workout-related injuries from occurring.

Fourth, set goals and bring a friend. You don’t necessarily have to go into a workout looking to burn X amount of calories or lose X amount of weight, but it’s still a good idea to have a general idea of where you start and where you want to be. A great way to do this is to keep an exercise diary. By doing this you are more likely to stay motivated. Another great way to stay motivated is to bring a friend. Sometimes working out with a partner can make fitness a lot more fun.

Lastly, it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs. Healthy eating is an important part of staying healthy. When it comes to exercise, it’s ideal to fuel-up at least two hours prior by eating healthy carbohydrates – such as whole-grain cereals, fat-free yogurt, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. (You can find more healthy eating tips by clicking here.)