Health Watch -- Keeping Exercise Resolutions (Part 1)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Will this be the year that you stick to your resolution to get more exercise?

If you made a New Year's resolution to exercise more, are you still trying to keep it? Or did you not even bother to make that resolution this year because you always give up on it, anyway?

Well, it's not too late to make that resolution or get back on track if you've already given up. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that keeping your exercise resolution just takes patience. We live in a culture based on instant gratification, so it's easy to get discouraged when we don't see instant results.

But Dr. Peter Snell, a UT Southwestern exercise physiologist, says you need to maintain realistic expectations. You didn't get in your current physical condition overnight, so you're not going to undo it all that immediately. It can take six to eight weeks for your heart and lungs to get conditioned from a regular exercise program.

Dr. Snell suggests exercising at least 30 minutes in three sessions a week, at a pace equivalent to a brisk walk - and then sticking with it. Pick an activity you enjoy, so you're less likely to get bored. Exercise with a friend, so you can motivate each other.