Guest Author - Terri Johansen
It’s a new year and many of you are setting your resolutions. Frequently these resolutions include exercise. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. The problem with these fresh starts is that often they are short lived. We try things that just don’t fit our lifestyles or body types. Here are some things to consider if your resolutions include a new beginning with exercise.
•Consider the shape you are in right now. If you have been exercising for awhile and have a good foundation then trying out a new exercise program can give you a motivational boost. However, if you have been sedentary or inconsistent then you need to start slow and build up your strength and endurance. For example, don’t go and join a CrossFit class if you are not already in good shape.
•This is a good time of year to get a fitness assessment. These assessments include determination of your cardio endurance, strength, and flexibility. An educated trainer will evaluate the assessment for you and recommend exercises that fit your current state of fitness. This trainer can prepare a workout designed specifically for you and will monitor your progress. Your workouts will gradually become more challenging as your endurance improves.
•Don’t exercise just to lose weight. While exercise is an important factor in a weight loss program it is not enough alone to get rid of those pounds. Exercise will make your body stronger and even if your weight loss is slow going your body can begin to change. Your posture will improve and standing up straight will make you look leaner. Stick to your diet program and include exercise because of the many benefits it can provide, including a toned firm body.
•Don’t build a mountain out of a molehill. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting an exercise routine. You want to run or walk five miles; but you have to walk before you can run. One mile of walking or walking/jogging is probably a more appropriate beginning.
•Don’t try to include all elements of fitness into each workout. The three components to a complete exercise program are cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. An example of a manageable routine would be to perform your cardio three days a week and do strength training two days a week (including all major muscle groups in each session). Flexibility can be combined with both of these workouts as a good way to cool-down; or you can go a step further and take a yoga or Pilates class which include both strength and flexibility.
•You need a workout that is attainable and realistic. When developing your exercise plan take into consideration your current lifestyle. You may need to make adjustments in order to include exercise but it is imperative that you assign it a permanent place in your life. It is important to be flexible and be able to change times, change your exercise routine for the day, cut the time short if need be; just be sure that you do something. Your aim is for exercise to be a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle so make it a habit.
•Determine your dedication to an exercise plan. Contemplate why you really want to exercise. The more honest you are with yourself will go a long way in helping you develop and stick to a plan. Acknowledge your true self and build your plan around this. If you know that you will stick to it then set up a reasonable workout and go for it. However, if you know that you are more likely to let the little things get in your way and decrease your chance of success, then embrace your revelations and don’t put yourself down. You are who you are and a little bit of exercise can go a long way. Try developing more activity in your life instead of a pre-determined plan. Walk further from your car, make that extra trip down the steps, clean your house, sweep your patio and sidewalk, or shovel snow. These are only a few ideas and you can come up with many of your own. The most important thing is that you perform some sort of movement and activity each day.
We are all different and recognizing this will empower you takes advantage of every day in the New Year.
Always check with a medical professional before starting or changing an exercise routine. Be healthy, be happy!
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