Before starting an exercise program, you should discuss it with your doctor. A physical exam can help decrease your risk of injury or illness resulting from an exercise program that isnít right for you.
It is important to begin any exercise program slowly and build up gradually. Remember, it may take several weeks or months to attain a basic level of fitness. Some people will take less time, others may take more. Be patient and you will see results!
Develop a plan for increasing your activity. Identify potential barriers (lack of time, weather, etc.) and brainstorm solutions (scheduling exercise in your calendar, develop a list of indoor opportunities). This way, you can have a back-up plan and avoid barriers derailing your good intentions. Be creative and discover what works best for you!
Aimlessly exercising without any goals is a sure way to easily lose motivation and give up exercise. Write down your goals using the ďSMARTĒ method.
S = Specific. Be specific about what you want to accomplish using action-oriented words.
M = Measurable. Make sure you can measure whether you have attained your goal.
A = Action-Oriented. Use action-oriented words to focus on behaviors, rather than results.
R = Realistic. Making a goal that is too lofty can discourage you if you are unable to achieve it but be sure that you havenít made your goals too easy either. Your goal can be high and realistic at the same time.
T = Timely. Pick a realistic time frame to reach your goal. If your time frame is too long, reassess your goal so you can keep.
Hereís an example: ďIím going to walk for 30 minutes after dinner on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next 6-weeks.Ē
Probably the most important piece of equipment for exercise is a good athletic shoe. Shoes donít need to be expensive to provide good support. Just be sure they fit properly, you wear an athletic sock, and they were made for the activity you engage in (walking, cross-training, jogging, etc).
You donít have to have fancy workout gear to exercise, just be sure it is comfortable and weather appropriate.