Set Modest Goals to Start. “It’s great to have big dreams, like losing 100 pounds, but it’s more important to set small, attainable goals. Otherwise, you may get discouraged,” says Rick Van Haveren, PhD, a sports psychologist in Atlanta. Aim to touch your toes, have the energy to run after your grandkids or walk for 15 minutes a day this week instead of 10.

Know What to Wear. Perhaps the most important thing you’ll need is a supportive but comfortable pair of shoes – and good fit is paramount. Visit a running or walking store to get properly fitted. A good walking or running shoes will serve your needs for most aerobic and strength-training workouts. It’s OK to walk in a running shoe, but best not to run in walking shoes. When shoe shopping, wear the socks you plan to wear during workouts and try the shoes for at least 10 minutes in the store.

Loose-fitting clothing such as t-shirts, cotton shorts, sweatpants and sweatshirts are fine to start out. But if you think you’ll be sweating or working on gym equipment, form-fitting, perspiration-wicking attire will keep you dry and is less likely to get caught on the equipment’s moving parts.

If you plan to get your workout rolling on a bike, go to a bicycle shop and get help selecting a bike that fits you and your riding style. A helmet, gel-padded gloves and a comfy seat also will deter injury.

Get Set …

Now that you’re ready to get going, set a plan you can stick with. Here are some strategies that will help bring out your inner exercise enthusiast.

Get an exercise buddy. “Ask a friend or significant other to join you. Exercise feels less like exercise when it’s a social event,” says Bryant. You're also more likely to stick with your commitment – to exercise and to your partner.

Reward yourself. Research shows that when people are rewarded for "good behavior" – including exercise – they feel better about it and are more likely to repeat it. “Instead of rewarding yourself with food, do something that builds on your new healthy habits. For example, book a massage or a pedicure, [or go] window shopping at the mall with a friend,” says Stiskal.