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Motivating Others to Be Physically Active

From the experts at Go4Life, a division of the National Institute on Aging, some tips on how to get a loved one to exercise:

At times, almost everyone can use a personal cheerleader for encouragement, inspiration, and even celebration when they successfully meet their goal. Cheering on a friend or family member who wants to be more physically active can be a great way to show your support—and it’s easy to do. Here are a few tips.

Be open and listen.

  • For some people, becoming physically active is a big change. Applaud that first step and continue to reinforce the decision to be active.
  • Listen to the challenges, brainstorm solutions, offer a pat on the back, and celebrate progress.

Help it happen.

  • Go along to buy new shoes or workout clothes or to try an exercise class.
  • Volunteer to take over a household errand to make time for your friend to go to her weekly basketball game.

Join in the fun.

  • Walking together is a wonderful way to be active and catch up with a friend.
  • Try activities that are just right for two—dance lessons or doubles tennis.
  • Challenge your friend to a weekly ping-pong game.

Be supportive if interruptions occur.

  • Travel, illness, and work can get in the way of physical activity. Work together to find ways to get back on track as soon as possible.

A few don’ts

  • Don’t push too hard. People need to start out at a pace that’s right for them and build up from there.
  • Don’t be judgmental. Negative comments about appearance or performance can quickly halt efforts to be active.

For more information on senior health and fitness, visit the Go4Life website.