The start of a New Year is the perfect opportunity to start with a clean slate and form new habits for self-improvement. A New Year can bring new hopes and new possibilities if you are open to them.

If you're one of the the thousands of people who made their New Year's resolution to get in-shape and start an exercise program NOW is the time! It's never too late start exercising. 

People who exercise regularly live longer, healthier and even happier lives.

In the United States heart disease is the leading cause of death, and over 25 million people have diabetes.

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 people in the United States die each year from heart disease alone.

The good news is that many of the diseases can largely be prevented with regular exercise and healthy living habits. You can live a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet (controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels), maintaining weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol use and exercising 60 minutes a day.

Exercise Habit Forming Tips:

1. Set a Goal: Using the SMART goal setting philosophy your goals should be; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time specific. Setting a goal that is not realistic or measurable can keep you from accomplishing your goal.

2. Identify Your Obstacles: We all have obstacles that deter us from exercising whether they are external or inner obstacles; no time, too cold outside, foot pain, being embarrassed and even, not wanting to become a gym rat.  Being aware of your obstacles for not exercising can help you overcome them. Write them down and make an action plan on how to resolve them. 

If you hate the gym and don't have a membership there are still plenty of exercise solutions. In SoCal and Long Beach there are plenty of walking paths, nature centers and the beach boardwalk that provide miles of walking paths.

Regular exercise is the best way to prevent heart disease and diabetes along with boosting your mental health.

3. Tune Up Your Environment: Surround yourself with health cues that keep you motivated throughout the week; sign up to receive a fitness magazine, subscribe to a health focused blog or newsletter and download a fitness app to your smartphone.

4. Make a plan:  Now that you've created a goal and identified your obstacles it's time to make a plan. How will you incorporate regular exercise into your routine? Consider your day-to-day routine and realistically schedule your workouts into your daily routine. Make a plan of action on how to overcome your inner and external exercise obstacles. If you don't have time to exercise during the evening plan on walking 45 minutes during the lunch hour.

Whether you decide to start a walking program, running program or join a local gym - just get moving.  Challenge yourself but don't burn yourself out. If you have a cheat day, it's ok, research shows having a cheat day when dieting is good for you.


Other Simple Exercise Tips: 

  • Find an exercise partner or friend who motivates you to stay active.
  • Test out a pilates class, spin or rowing class through Groupon or Living Social. This is a great way to try a new activity and meet people.
  • Explore new scenery hiking through Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica Mountains or Palos Verdes.
  • Take a walk through El Dorado Park or along the LA riverbed.


Starting a new exercise program and returning to exercise after an extended break can be difficult, but with a step by step action plan you can achieve your goals. If you aren’t used to regular exercise talk with your doctor before starting any vigorous physical activity.

For more information or for help starting a running program schedule a consultation with a sports medicine podiatrist, Richard Graves, DPM. Call 562-433-0478.


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