A Fitness Program: Starting from Scratch
By Jeanne Dunnewind, PT
New to exercise? Or do you simply want to do more than your current couch-to-refrigerator workout program? Not sure how to go about it?
Whether your goal is to run a 5k or to drop some extra pounds, you can be well on your way to achieving your goals, with a new sense of well-being to show for it. All you have to do is get started with a fitness program. But, just remember, your real objective should be about finding the specific fitness program that works for you—not someone else.
Often people make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals with exercise programs, but to get started, you can do something as easy as walking out your front door. Start slowly and build up over time, rather than trying to jump into a 3 mile walk right away.
Try giving yourself permission to walk for 5 minutes at a time so that it is not overwhelming to you. If you are able to do 5 minutes, 5 days a week without problems, then increase the walking by a few minutes until you reach 30 minutes, 5-7 days a week.
Consider investing in a pedometer and begin counting all of your steps. Put the pedometer on first thing in the morning and take it off just prior to going to bed. Parking further away in the parking lot of a store or your place of work is an easy way to add to your workout. Keep track of the number of steps you take each day and try to increase steadily with an ultimate goal of 10,000 steps, which is about 5 miles.
If walking is not an option for you, think about doing sitting exercises in your own home using DVDs, Sit and Fit on TV or youtube.com, or check out the internet for exercises. Do the exercises at your own pace and for the length of time you can tolerate, which may mean you start with 5 minutes and increase a little at a time as you are able.
Another option might be water walking or water exercise. Many gyms or city pools offer classes during the day and evening. If you can’t attend a class, you can walk in the water on your own.
Keep in mind that having the correct clothing or shoes can make your exercise more comfortable. It is important that you have good supportive shoes for walking and/or exercising. Water shoes are a must if you are diabetic and walking in a pool. If you live in an area where it often rains, then you may want to invest in a water repellant jacket or umbrella to help keep you dry.
Think about what you enjoy doing that is physically active, and try to find a way to eventually add that activity to your routine. Consider what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Remember that anything you do to move during the day is better than doing nothing. You have nothing but weight to lose, so just get started today!