Getting Fit and Staying Active

Some people assume they are too busy, too old, too frail, or too out of shape to begin exercising.  Not true.  In fact, research shows that benefits will be gained from a fitness program whether you are 9 or 90.  It really doesn’t matter what kind of activity you do to start with – just get active!  When you are just beginning, anything is better than nothing.

What is important is choosing activities you enjoy – walking, dancing, yoga, cycling, hiking… the list is endless.  The ideal program should include a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility (stretching).  However, you may not be able to add all of these at once.  To begin making active living a habit, your emphasis should be on thinking about and planning your activity, making sure it fits you, enjoying it and rewarding yourself for meeting your goals.

To help you stay on your exercise program, remember these simple tips:

1.         Start slowly and build: You did not get to where you are overnight. It will take time and effort to build this into your lifestyle.  The best way to see and feel results is to get into a regular routine, make a commitment and be consistent.

2.         Set realistic goals:  Use goals that are attainable.  Short-term goals such as walking five extra minutes will give you a sense of accomplishment.

3.         Create a support system:  Seek out those people who help you meet your goals and supply the encouragement you need.  Avoid those who seem to sabotage your efforts. Working out with a buddy may help motivate you and keep you accountable to your commitment.  It can be a friend, an exercise class, or a personal trainer.

4.         Use a motivational activity monitor like a heart rate monitor, pedometer or Fitbit:  These tools give you the feedback that ensures you are spending every minute of exercise effectively by monitoring your heart rate, steps walked and calories burned.

5.         Record your progress:  Logging your progress can be a good source of positive feedback.  Track type of activity, duration, time spent at your training heart rate, calories burned and how you felt. All of these values will help keep you moving.

6.         Develop a positive attitude:  Your self-talk can affect your routine and how you feel about exercise.  Compliment yourself at every opportunity.  Avoid words like “no, can’t, never, etc.” these only set you up for failure.  Try at least a 10-15 minute walk before deciding not to exercise.

7.         Have fun: Exercise is not a PUNISHMENT.