Summer is right around the corner, making this the perfect time to get up, get out and get active! Fitness and physical activity play a critical role in overall health and well-being (along with nutrition). The thought of starting a fitness routine, however, may feel overwhelming. Good news- once you have decided to make a lifestyle change, you are already on your way!
- First, consult with your physician. Prior to beginning any exercise program it is recommended that you discuss your fitness plans with your physician for your safety. However, do not procrastinate with beginning your workout if you cannot get in right away! If you’ve experienced prior medical conditions or injuries make this a priority, until then, start with something simple such as walking and gradually pick up the pace.
- Next, take time to document your fitness goals thoroughly. Besides writing down weight loss goals, take time to list the reasons behind your desire to lose weight or tone up (i.e. ten year class reunion, increase self-esteem, health benefits). Confess all of your thoughts and emotions as you write and use those things as inspiration during your journey. Be sure to set goals that are very specific, measurable and reasonable. You may even find it beneficial to create a vision board for motivation. Track your progress by keeping notes, and make changes as you see fit.
- Set a workout schedule. Eliminate the “I’m too busy” excuse because it can be done. It takes commitment and discipline. Designate specific days and times for your workout, and mark it in your calendar as an appointment. Set your alarm if needed.
- Reward yourself. No one knows you better than yourself. When setting goals remember to grant yourself rewards for each accomplishment achieved. This should indeed keep you motivated.
- Rest and Recovery. Allow your body time to rest between workout sessions. You can expect to experience soreness; give your muscles time to heal.
- Find a workout buddy or Personal Trainer. Working with a buddy or trainer can push you to levels you may not reach alone. It also serves as another source of motivation. Also try a variety of group fitness classes to foster a fitness support group.
- Shake things up a bit! Explore new activities that require you to move such as swimming, bicycling, dancing, sports, gardening, hiking, group fitness classes, taking the stairs, chasing your children, whatever it takes to get you moving!
Once you’re in the swing of things, begin to alter your diet by making healthier food choices. Exercise and a healthy diet is a powerful combination to help you reach your fitness goals! Remember to stay positive and most importantly share your testimony to help motivate others. Good Luck!
Whitney Harrison is a fitness and wellness professional for CompuWare. She serves on the 2012 Planning Committee for The McKinney Foundation’s 3rd Annual, “Celebrating a Healthier Detroit” Expo.