Monitor Your Motion

To stay motivated, it helps to have a tool to keep track of your workout accomplishments. Either take your pulse on a regular basis or consider investing in a heart rate monitor, which will give you feedback so you know you’re working efficiently.

A monitor tracks your heart rate as you’re exercising, allowing you to either increase or decrease the level of your exertion in order to keep your heart working in its ideal range. The monitors, which start at around $50, are available in sporting goods stores. You’ll need to calculate your target heart rate before using a monitor so you know where to start. (Not sure how to do it? Here’s how.)

Even easier and much less costly, invest in a simple pedometer or make a chart for your refrigerator.

“Keep track of the distance like how many times you go up and down the stairs without getting tired or put a pedometer on your shoe and count how many steps you take,” suggests chiropractor Eric Plasker, author of The 100 Year Lifestyle (Adams Media, 2007). “Find inexpensive ways to kind of make it a game and also involve your mind.”

Gadgets and Gizmos

If you need a little more inspiration than music or monitors to get your feet off the ottoman, try playing cards or video games. Seriously.

Some of the latest Nintendo DS games are geared toward adults needing a little push to get physical. Offerings such as “My Weight Loss Coach” ($29.99) and “Quick Yoga Training” ($19.99) require users to actually move more than their thumbs. The yoga game lets players choose poses that focus on stress-relief or balance while the weight-loss game tracks progress toward a target weight, using fitness and nutrition challenges as well as a pedometer.

(The DS is a lightweight handheld gaming console that retails for $129. It requires some dexterity and fine motor skills to use a stylus on the touch screens. If you don’t already own one, chances are your kids or grandkids do!)

The Nintendo Wii Fit also lets you an untraditional indoor workout using a balance board and a Wii gaming system hooked up to your TV. You can choose yoga poses (led by a virtual trainer), balance games such as dodging soccer balls or ski jumping, and cardio exercises like boxing, jogging and twirling hula hoops. (The Wii retails for $249.99 and the Wii Fit game is $89.99.)