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Better health isn’t just about looking better. It can also help you to feel stronger, more flexible, reduce pain and feel happier overall. If you’re an inactive person, it can be challenging to change your lifestyle. Here are a few tips that might make it a bit easier.

Sign up for a race or event.

Fear is a powerful motivator, and having a challenge looming can create a sense of urgency to improve your fitness. You don’t need to sign up for a marathon straight away, but something that lies just outside your current fitness level is a great place to start.

Join a team.

You may not feel committed to your exercise routine, but being part of a team can get you out of the house when you’d much rather be a couch potato. Joining a team can have added social benefits by increasing your sense of community and expanding your social circle.

Make it a habit.

Upgrade your daily exercise to be a non-negotiable part of your routine, increase the priority level and refuse to reschedule. In the long run, you’ll be grateful that you have created a habit that’s difficult to break. If you can also keep track of your attendance, set yourself the added challenge of not missing a day to put the habit in place.

Be honest about what you enjoy and what you don’t.

We all have different preferences when it comes to activity, and taking the time to identify which sport is right for you can be the secret to long term success. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you might find mountain biking infinitely more rewarding than an hour at the gym. For others, the peacefulness of a yoga session can be just what they need after a stressful workday. There are many options other than a gym membership, and many come with added benefits of improved self-esteem as you learn a new skill and are an easy way to make new friends.

Reward yourself.

Many of us respond better to positive reinforcement than punishment, or at least it is a nicer experience. For example, rather than restricting calories when you miss a day of exercise, reward yourself with a massage when you have reached a small goal. Choosing a reward that is also beneficial for your health can help avoid a boom/bust attitude towards your health.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your condition.