Spring is here and this is a great time to start or resume exercising. The physical and mental benefits are well documented. Instead of waiting for tomorrow, start TODAY.
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, head out for a brisk walk, get on your bike, or go for a run. Here are some tips to help you become more fit.
1. Try a short workout. Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Your goal the first two weeks should be to continue exercising and establishing your new habit – not building strength or endurance. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing
2. If you’ve been sedentary for some time, you need to visit your doctor for a checkup or physical to ensure there are no health risks. While 40 is still young by today’s aging standards, blood pressure, cholesterol medications and other elements can affect your new activity.
3. If it’s been awhile since you have been to the gym, hire a personal trainer for two or three sessions to become comfortable with the gym.
4. Some soreness following exercise is normal; do not quit! It will become easier and your muscles and body will adapt. See a doctor if you have sharp pain
5. Fitness is a personal choice and it’s all about personal goals. Don’t compare yourself with others.
6. Don’t Break the Habit and be consistent. The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. If you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble. If you want to work out from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Thursday, write it down in your planner and treat it as an inflexible appointment. Soon, your brain and body will happily fall in line and you won’t need to set reminders for yourself. Regular sleep and meal times will further solidify your new fitness regimen.
7. Reward Showing Up. Get yourself something for completing your first week.
8. Make it Fun. If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
9. Get a Buddy. Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
10. Measure Fitness. Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster. By the same token, seeing small milestones in ink is an easy way to build fitness momentum. Not into keeping a fitness journal? Get a calendar and simply make a check mark for every day you work out. It may not be as efficient as tracking your measurements or heart rate, but if you see that you’ve hit the gym every day this week, you’re not going to break your winning streak when some silly excuse comes along.