Training- The Time to Start is Now! By Ken Hunt
Just about this time, every year, people begin talking about New Year’s resolutions. And, without fail, most include a workout or fitness program. You make a pledge to yourself to hit the gym January 1, 2011. But why wait until then? Starting now will give you a jump start on reaching your goals and help you get through the holiday party season. And there is so much to be gained (and lost) but pulling the trigger now. Let me share with you some of my tips on how to get yourself out of the gate quickly so you can begin seeing results
First: Assess Your Fitness Level. You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But you should have benchmarks against which to measure your progress. Your pulse rate before and after a one-mile walk. How long it takes to walk one mile? How many push-ups you can do at a time? How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you? Your waist circumference at the level of your navel. Your body mass index.
Second: Design to Win It’s easy to say that you’ll exercise every day. But you’ll need a plan. As you design your fitness program, keep these points in mind:
- Are you starting a fitness program to help lose weight? Or do you have another goal in mind. Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress.
- If you’re just beginning to exercise, start slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or a physical therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
- Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment.
- Different activities or cross training can keep exercise from becoming boring and reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body.
- Many people start exercising and really over it do fast â€” working out too long or too intensely â€” and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
- A written plan may encourage you to stay on track.
Third: Get Your Gear On You’ll probably start with athletic shoes. Be sure to pick shoes designed for the activity you have in mind. Make sure you have gotten some comfortable workout gear. Give yourself enough shorts, T-shirts and socks to get through a week. Throw in some sweatpants and sweat shirts so that you keep yourself warm on your way to and back from each work out.
Fourth: Where To Begin: Now you’re ready for action. As you begin your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:
Start slowly and build up gradually. Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down with easy walking or gentle stretching. Then speed up to a pace you can continue for five to 10 minutes without getting overly tired. Work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Break things up if you have to. You don’t have to do all your exercise at one time. Shorter but more frequent sessions have aerobic benefits, too. Fifteen minutes of exercise a couple of times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session.
Be creative. Maybe your workout routine includes various activities, such as walking, bicycling or taking a class.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
Be flexible. If you’re not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.
Five: Keeping Track
Six weeks after you start your program assess your fitness goals again. Then do it again every three to six months. You may notice that you need to increase the amount of time you exercise in order to continue improving. Or you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re exercising just the right amount to meet your fitness goals.
If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend or taking a class at a fitness center may help, too. You might even want to consider a personal trainer.
Starting an exercise program is an important decision. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime. Start now!