Let’s get this Heart Strong party started!

Remember: Take a photo while doing one of the heart healthy behaviors and post it on Facebook or Instagram. Tag it with #AdelanteHeartStrong and let us know @AdelanteHealthcare and you could win a free Heart Strong t-shirt and a $50 gift card!

Winners will be notified by 5pm each Monday during February.

Week One Challenge: Move Strong

If you groaned and wished getting Heart Strong did NOT involve moving more, you are not alone.

Most of us (about 80 percent of Americans) don’t make exercise a regular habit. Many say it’s because they just don’t like it.

Regular activity helps you have more energy, handle stress better, reduce your risk of illness and disease, and look and feel good! So how can you stop hating exercise and start doing it?

Here are some tips to help you add physical activity to your life – and maybe even learn to like it!

Stop Feeling Guilty, Start Moving Just a Little

If you know you should move more but just aren’t doing it, it’s time to stop the guilt and focus on taking tiny baby steps to build the habit.

What is the smallest, tiniest action you could take?

How about standing up while watching TV and doing one jumping jack or marching in place for 10 steps?

Do it. Then celebrate. Then do it again tomorrow. And the next day and the next.

That’s it! You’re moving. You’re building the exercise habit.

After you do that for a few weeks, add a few more minutes or another activity. Keep it small and just keep doing it.

Ready for More?

Experts recommend 30 minutes of movement 5 days a week and 2 days of strengthening exercise, but don’t panic.

If that feels overwhelming, it works just as well to fit in physical activity when you can. Try 5, 10 or 15 minutes chunks a few times every day. It all adds up.

Maybe you do a quick yoga or stretching routine when you wake up, take a walk after lunch at work, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away from the door, then play with the kids or the dog at home and keep dumbbells or resistance bands near the TV in the evening. You’ve got this!

Keep Experimenting to Find What You Enjoy

Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, find ways to exercise that fit your personality.

If you’re a social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group dance class, join a recreational sports team, or start a walking group with friends. If you’re more of a lone wolf, running or swimming might be a better fit.

Consider time of day too. If you’re not a morning person, you’re not likely to get up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.

Give it Time

Give yourself time to get into a regular routine. It can take a while for a new behavior to become a habit but once it does, you won’t have to think about it, you’ll just do it. And even better, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing it.

Don’t Give Up

If you miss a day – or two – just pick up your routine again and keep on going.

If you feel a ton of resistance, go back to baby steps and start with tiny actions over and over again.

Everybody struggles once in a while. Keep trying. And remember, if what you’re doing just isn’t working for you, try a different activity or a different time of day. Don’t give up!

Check back next Tuesday for our next Heart Strong Challenge!