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Three steps to building a healthier you

A fit body is like a finely tuned engine and is a major contributor to your overall health and well-being. It allows you to feel, look and do your very best every day. As your fitness improves, you might find you can complete daily tasks and handle the occasional crisis with more energy and with less stress. 

So you’re ready to become more fit? Good on you! Here are some healthy habits to help you start. 

1. Take it one step at a time

Many of us don’t exercise on a regular basis. We may work in our yards over the weekend. Or we may take a long hike on vacation and end up with the inevitable sore muscles. 

So when you decide that it’s time to start a daily exercise routine, be patient. Don’t do too much too soon and try not to quit before you see the rewards of your new routine. Remember: you can’t get back in a few days or weeks what may have been lost over years of not exercising. The good news is that you can gain back old ground if you work hard. The prize isn’t just a more fit body — it’s better health.

2. Notice the full body effect

Becoming fit not only affects your weight or those rad biceps and quads you’re building. It also affects how your mind, heart and lungs work. You'll probably notice that you’re sleeping better. And focusing better throughout the day. Maybe the way you react to stress changes for the better. You can’t control some things about your body, like your age and genes. But you can empower yourself with exercise.

3. Make it a daily routine

Remember how you had to brush your teeth as a child until it became a part of your daily routine? That’s how you can create a routine where exercise becomes a new habit in your life. At first you may need the help of family and friends for encouragement. A support network can help you make exercise a daily routine.

To help make exercise a regular habit, write it into your daily schedule. Treat it like a doctor’s or business appointment. You don’t make excuses not to go to these appointments. You keep them due to their importance for your life. If you see exercise in the same way, then you can stop making excuses for not making the time to do it.

Find things you can do almost every day that won’t be hard to build into your routine. This might include taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It might mean parking farther away so you have to walk more during your day. Take an extra-long lunch hour to go to a gym and then cut out the other breaks during the day.

These are just some ways to get more exercise into your daily routine. If you do something during work every day, that’s five days of exercise every week. And that’s a great place to be!

Need help with creating and sticking with healthy exercise habits? The Attain by AetnaSM app gives you tips, tools and points for making healthier and more mindful choices, like boosting your everyday activity level. Download the AttainSM app today in the App Store. Already using the app? Head over to the “Actions” tab in the app and start building healthy habits today.

This material provides a general overview of the topic. Health information is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a therapist, physician or other health care professional. Contact a health care professional with any questions or concerns about specific health care needs.