Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting fit? Unsure how to begin? Sick of watching Crossfit people jog past your window carrying tires like that's normal behavior? Tired of hearing advice from everyone you know about how to get started? I know this post is just another person giving you more advice, but I’m a lifelong athlete and a medical doctor, so doesn’t it count a little extra??
The problem people encounter when trying to start up a fitness program is this: too much, too fast. If you bite off more than you can chew, you'll end up discouraged, and feeling like fitness just isn't for you. But, if you set yourself up for success, you can create a change in your lifestyle that results in a fitter, healthier you over the course of time. It's an investment, of time and energy mostly, and the payoff is huge; a healthier heart, stronger muscles, and more happy chemicals flowing around in your brain are all direct results of moving your body more. Here are five, rational, completely achievable steps toward a fitter, healthier life.
STEP 1: HOW DO I START GETTING FIT?
Think about YOU. Are you an indoor person or an outdoor person? Do you like music? Do you love to dance? Do you live within walking distance of a gym? Do you have enough in your budget to spend on a membership? Have you always wanted to try something fun like yoga or jujitsu? Now, tailor your plan to YOU. Don’t let someone talk you into a plan that is not consistent with your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses, or your resources: if it’s not YOU, it simply won’t work.
STEP 2: HOW LONG SHOULD I EXERCISE?
Start with FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY. Don’t join a boot camp that makes you hopelessly sore. Don’t go from the sofa to Crossfit in one day, leaving you too tired to lift your soap in the shower (God forbid! You need your Osmia soap!!). Don’t tell yourself that if you can’t do a full hour then it isn’t worth doing anything (the WORST fitness sin ever, and one we're all guilty of occasionally). These are recipes for quitting. What you need to do, in essence, is get addicted to the fifteen minutes. Only then will you start to crave twenty, thirty, or sixty minutes of exercise.
STEP 3: WHAT DO I NEED TO BUY?
The least expensive way to start an exercise program is with a pair of supportive walking or running shoes. Period. That is ALL you need. Relatively affordable, widely available, and extremely easy to operate. Walk as fast as you can for fifteen tiny little minutes a day! Not to the grocery store, or from your car to the Walmart entrance. This is walking JUST for the sake of walking. It's not only for the exercise. It's also to begin the practice of carving out time in your schedule specifically for exercise, a habit you'll need to create—and protect—if you want to improve your health.
STEP 4: HOW DO I MAKE EXERCISE MORE ENJOYABLE?
If you are a music person, get your groove on! And, if you like to dance, walk to a beat. Try searching Spotify for songs in the 127-132 beats per minute range. This will get you stomping at a good clip. Or find great people to follow who create playlists (we'll get you moving!). And, please, don’t be afraid to dance openly or play air drums or even skip. WHO CARES?
STEP 5: HOW DO I INCREASE MY EXERCISE SAFELY?
Stick to this plan six days a week for 2 weeks. Just commit to yourself and get it done. It’s only 15 minutes a day. After two weeks, increase your daily commitment by 5 minutes every 2 weeks. Once you are at 30 minutes a day, you should move to Phase 2, where you vary your routine a bit, and add fun stuff like weights or pushups or yoga a couple days a week. But that’s then. This is now.
And now = FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY.
You in? We'll be your cheerleaders! YOU GOT THIS!!!
With loads of love and fine, strong muscles from us to you,