Exercise Your New Year’s Resolution

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Wed, 01/01/2014

This is the time when we think about the changes we want to make for the year ahead. While you may already be planning your New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too early to start the habits now and have a part of your daily routine by year’s end. A good example of a habit to incorporate into your daily schedule is exercise. When thinking about new ways to become more active, plan to start by engaging in Iow-risk physical activities such as walking, jogging or swimming. If you are taking an anticoagulant, you should avoid activities that may place you at risk for injury, such as contact sports.

Perhaps the best way to start a new routine of being active is to take a daily walk. Begin with just a short distance, perhaps around your block or a nearby indoor shopping center, and gradually work up to a bit further. If you belong to a gym, a few minutes a day on an exercise bike can give you great results. Just by getting out and moving, you can stimulate your brain to produce endorphins, chemicals that can make you happy and more relaxed.

Forming new habits like exercising for the approaching new year may appear daunting for some people. We don’t know exactly how long it takes for a new habit to form, but we do know that repetition is important. Doing the same thing day after day is the best way to make a new behavior stick. Soon, it may seem odd not to follow your new routine. That is when you know you have succeeded in establishing a new habit.

While exercise is an important habit to consider adding to your lifestyle, it is always best to discuss any changes with your doctor. Using the previous example of starting more exercise, a change in your activity level may affect your INR slightly while you’re taking warfarin or other brand names such as Coumadin®. As your body’s metabolism increases from becoming more fit, this can also affect how quickly your medication affects you. While being more active may make you more tired at first, the long-term benefits can include more energy during the day and more restful sleep at night. Exercise can also affect your appearance, which can ultimately boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. What better way to start the new year than by developing a healthy new habit?

Work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity or exercise plan that you enjoy and that matches your abilities. Some patients may benefit from walking, stretching, or low impact activity. For additional ideas on how to make physical activity part of your life, read the article on Exercise & Physical Activity. Keep in mind that any change in physical activity should also be reported to your doctor so they can monitor the effect, if any, that your new exercise regime has on your INR results or warfarin dosing.