Fitness- Getting started.
Although it is winter and harder than ever to exercise, remember that by starting now, you will be feeling fitter, happier and ready for the summer months.
Did you know that by being fit, you can minimise your pain levels, reduce your risk of chronic disease and illness, improve your strength, balance and coordination, lose weight, sleep better and improve your general sense of well being and self esteem?
The power of exercise is well researched and documented in the literature.
Here are some basic tips from the literature to hopefully motivate you to get a move on!
Step 1. Get your doctor's OK to start an exercise program
Step 2. Consider your fitness goals. Do you want to just get healthy, lose weight, run 5 kms or a marathon?
Step 3. Think about your exercise likes and dislikes. If you have fun, you will be more likely to keep them going. Remember that exercise should become part of your lifestyle, not a sporadic "fad".
Step 4. Plan a logical progression of activity by firstly establishing a safe baseline to get started with. Then it will be easier to design your exercise pacing diary to ultimately achieve your goals. Write it down on paper, or start an exercise journal to see your improvements. There is nothing more rewarding!
More on pacing plans next fixnews!
How do I set a safe baseline?
Remember to start slowly and build up gradually. Do not "boom and bust" with respect to injuries, motivation and general energy- it takes time to gain fitness and to eventually reach your goals. And yes, this applies to everyone, even for those elite sportsmen and women.
Why not start with a 10 minute brisk walk/cycle/jog/swim for the first week, with time for gentle "warming up" and "cooling down" slower walk/cycle/swim before and after? Increase this by 3-5 minutes each week.
Establish whether this "baseline" is safe with respect to no injury aggravations, extreme exhaustion or apathy after the day of exercise. Can you go out and maintain the same level of exercise on alternate days for that week? If you answer yes to this question, then this is your safe baseline at which to begin and then build on.
How do I know that I am getting the maximum cardiovascular benefit for the health, fitness and weight loss benefits of my exercise?
As a general rule, you need to exercise at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate for best results. As a good rule of thumb, if you can't carry on a conversation at all while you exercise, you're probably pushing too hard. But on the other hand, you need to still be a little breathless whilst sharing your latest gossip with your exercise partner.
More on exercise intensities and principles next issue of fixnews!
So get started. No excuses now.
Your body and mind will love you for it.