You know you should exercise -- but you don't do it. Here's advice that's easy to take: "Don't be so hard on yourself."
That's the view of Maria Brilaki whose website, Fitness Reloaded (www.fitnessreloaded.com), is designed to coax nonexercisers to get moving.
"Just stick to what you can do. Forget about what you should do," Brilaki said. "If you beat yourself up, you increase the chance you'll quit."
She added, "If you can't do your full workout, just do five minutes. Just do two exercises. This helps keep the momentum up, and keeping the momentum up is really important."
Brilaki's random survey of 541 people showed that two-thirds of the most committed exercisers (those who have been working out for more than five years) reported that they had quit an exercise program in the past. This shows that even those who have made exercise a habit had a halting start and aren't "natural exercisers," she said.
To help get started, Brilaki offered these pointers:
• Don't get discouraged.
• Start with stretches.
• You don't need a gym or special equipment. A backpack with books inside substitutes for dumbbells. A table, sofa and broomstick are all you need to follow her online videos.
• Use daily activities (brushing your teeth, putting on shoes) as triggers that remind you to exercise immediately afterward, even if just for a few minutes of squats, stretches, lunges.
• Create habits of exercise, no matter how brief, and "sooner or later you'll forget to stop."