These simple tips will tell you how to get started.
If you read my post last week, you know there are many reasons why you need to begin an exercise program, but knowing the "why" does not answer the "how". Maybe you have accepted the whys, have decided to start exercising and are ready to go, but you aren't sure you know how.
Sure you could do an internet search for exercise programs, but unless you have time to go through hundreds of thousands of articles and posts, you may still come away with no answer. Even worse, you may end up so overwhelmed that you quit before you even get started. Honestly, it should not be so confusing and this post will break it all down for you so you know exactly how to get started.
#1 The best place to start is always with your physician.
Getting a full physical can reveal possible health risks, nutritional deficiencies, and existence of chronic disease (or a pre-chronic disease state). This information can then be used as a perfect template for creating your workout. For instance, if your blood pressure is in the pre-hypertensive zone, you may want to focus on improving your endurance so you can engage in longer bouts of cardiovascular exercise to reduce your blood pressure without medication.
#2 Know what you want to accomplish.
Whether you want to walk for an hour or lower your blood pressure, you need to have a goal in mind for each workout and for your overall program. Without an idea of what you hope to achieve, you will flounder and your workout will be haphazard. You might get on the treadmill but finish when you get bored (which usually doesn't take long!). You might work at a pace that is too slow to offer any improvements or be so eager to see results that you work out too hard, leaving you overly sore and possibly injured.
#3 Set a goal that is measurable.
When I first meet with potential clients, many of them tell me they "just want to get in shape". But when I ask them what that means, they usually have no idea. Just getting in shape can be something different to everyone. If you are not sure what that means to you, how will you know when you get there? How will you measure your progress?
Do you want to be able to walk a mile without huffing and puffing? Perform 10 pushups? Go for a 10 mile bike ride? Setting a goal that is measurable gives you something to aim for and allows you to work out in a way that helps you achieve that goal. The focus of your program will be quite different if your goal is to ride your bike 10 miles than if it is to do 10 pushups.
#4 Think of the actions you perform each day.
Beyond the things we usually think of when exercising, such as how far we can walk or how many bicep curls we can do, think of all of the things you need to be able to do in life. In our daily lives we need to walk, lift, push, carry, get out of bed, get up from the floor, walk up and down stairs, stoop down to pick up something, and maintain our balance. If any of these things are difficult for you today, consider how much more difficult they will be in a year, or 10 years.
Choose exercises that will help you improve these things. If you have trouble walking more than a short distance, you need to work on improving your endurance. If you have trouble carrying groceries from the car to the house, you need to work on your upper body strength. And if you can't remember the last time you were able to get yourself up off of the floor, your lower body strength can use some work.
#5 Stop thinking about it and start doing it.
How many times have you thought to yourself "I know I should start exercising, but. . . " The amount of time you spend thinking about it and talking yourself out of it could be just enough to get you started. The next time you think "I should start exercising", do it. Even if it is just 2 minutes. Get up and walk around the room, do some stretches, or try some pushups against the counter. That's not so bad, is it?
Sometimes the most difficult part of exercising is starting. Those 2 minutes might just give you enough motivation to do 10 minutes. But even if you don't have 10 minutes to spare at that exact time, do the 2 minutes. It will be 2 minutes more than you did yesterday.
Don't worry about having the right clothes, the right equipment, or the right fitness tracker. Other than your body and some decent shoes, there really is nothing else you need to get started. Waiting to get the right "stuff" is just another excuse not to start. The stuff can come eventually.
#6 Begin simply.
Go for a walk, do some pushups, walk up and down the stairs, or go for a short bike ride. Do a little more each time; walk a little longer, do one more pushup, one more flight of stairs, or bike around 1 more block. Once you are doing this 3-5 times per week for approximately 30 minutes each time, then you can expand your knowledge, your workout, and gear.
Oftentimes we avoid doing something because we don't know how. Don't let this be true with exercise. Starting an exercise program is not difficult - just start moving and do it consistently. Yes, eventually you will need to add some structure, include other movements, and incorporate equipment into your workout and these will come with time.
Today, lace up your shoes and go for a walk, do a few pushups against the counter, and carry a bag of groceries up and down the stairs a few times. That's how you start exercising today!
Get started today - For the Health of It!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope I inspired you to get started.
Feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have questions about your exercise program. I am always happy to help.
For more information about my programs, check out my website.