Personal Fitness: Three Easy Steps to Getting Started

Fitness is something that many of us would like to achieve. This article discusses some simple steps that will help you become more fit and healthy.

Fitness is a goal that many of us seek, yet find difficult to achieve. Why?

For each of us, the answer will be different. In fact, before starting a fitness program, it is important to ask yourself: “What makes regular exercise hard for me to pursue?” Your answers could include a busy lifestyle, fear of soreness, or simply “I don’t like it” if you are honest.

Step One: Define Barriers and Get Motivated

Starting a personal fitness plan includes looking at these barriers and deciding how you can deal with them. This includes finding the motivation to begin.

One source of motivation is understanding the benefits to you of physical fitness. These include: aerobic exercise conditions your heart and lungs (and can reduce your risk of heart disease), it increases your endurance (which can help on those long, tough days with a million things to do), it reduces stress, it can help you lose weight, and it can help reduce your risk of disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and depression. When you exercise, you look better, feel better, and are healthier.

Step Two: Preparation

Okay, so the benefits sound great. How do you get started?

First, Look at your daily routine. Try to determine the best time for incorporating exercise into it, whether early morning or in the evening. Your schedule and your biorhythm will determine this.

Wear clothing that is comfortable, loose, and permits sweat evaporation. Supportive athletic shoes are good choices for most activities.

Start slowly if you aren’t used to exercise. Check with your health care provider before starting out, especially if you are over age 35, or have any medical problems. They may ask you to modify your plan, such as choosing low impact exercise if you have joint problems.

Step Three: A Simple Routine That Works

A typical exercise routine begins with warm-ups. These are slow stretches that allow muscles a chance to warm up, then a slow start into the exercise itself. Warm up takes about five minutes.

Then comes conditioning exercise.At this point, many people ask, “What kind of exercise is best?” The answer is, “Just about any physical activity that you ENJOY doing.” This is the key. If you find a routine that you like, or is even fun, you are more likely to continue it.

An exercise routine may be a daily walk or swimming, going to the local gym and working out with others, or a private session on the treadmill at home.

Build up gradually, starting out with five or ten minutes a day to prevent “morning after” soreness. You will enjoy yourself more if you allow time to work into a routine, and can add five minutes a week until you meet your goal.

What should your goal be? Minimum fitness is considered 20 to 30 minutes every other day, although you may choose to exercise more as fitness improves.

During exercise, you should be able to hold a conversation (the “talk test”). Slow down if you can’t. If chest pain, irregular heart beats, difficulty breathing, or dizziness occur, stop immediately, and notify your health care provider.

Finally, you will want to cool down. This phase prevents blood from pooling in your legs (which can cause dizziness). Cooling down can be walking, or very low level exercise, followed by simple stretches that relax muscles

With exercise, you can enjoy the benefits of feeling better, looking trimmer, and having more energy. Finding a routine that you enjoy will help you continue it, and exercise your way to a fitter, healthier lifestyle.

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