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Kick-Start Your Heart Healthy Exercise Routine

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Who says resolutions have to start on Jan. 1? When it comes to getting fit, there’s never a right or wrong day to start. Gina Mancuso, a physical therapist and co-owner of Philly’s CoreFitness, shares the most common exercise excuses she hears and how you can overcome them.

“I don’t have time/I’m too busy.” If you have time to watch Game of Thrones or scroll through Facebook, you have time to exercise. Try fitting in a workout early in the morning, during lunch or after the kids go to bed. For less time, break it up into shorter sessions. A lot can be accomplished in a 15-minute burst.

“I’m too old/out of shape to exercise.” No matter your age or fitness level, it’s never too late to start getting active—the benefits can be significant. Even if you have a chronic illness like heart disease, getting some form of exercise is important. Where to begin? Talk to your doctor and start off slowly to avoid injuries.

“The gym is too expensive.” Then don’t go to the gym. Mancuso points out that there are plenty of exercises you can do outside of a gym that are free. Go for a walk, ride a bike or download a free exercise app on your phone. Also consider small-group training sessions to split the cost with others. 

“I’m too tired to exercise.” When you’re dragging and feeling too tired to work out, Mancuso says the solution is…to work out! Regular exercise boosts your energy level and gets you going. If you’re too tired to exercise after work, try going before work, even if it means getting up when it’s dark outside.

“I’ve tried before and failed.” Maybe you set your goals too high, says Mancuso. Start with small goals that are very attainable (hint: Your first goal shouldn’t be “run a marathon”). That way you’re more likely to feel like a success. As you progress, set the goals even higher but continue to keep them attainable.

“Exercise is boring.” The best way to avoid being bored is to find an activity you like. Hate running? Try walking, biking, swimming, boxing or dancing. An exercise buddy may help—you’re more likely to stick with a routine if you know someone is expecting you to be there.

“I don’t know where to start.” There are tons of options for beginners, including apps that automatically generate workouts for you. Most gyms have classes for beginners and trainers who can guide you in the right direction. Don’t get paralyzed with indecision. Remember: What you do is less important than just getting started.

For more information on ways you can Go Red this year, visit phillymag.com/go-red-2018