by Kimberly Allen R.N.
By now with all the publicity like the “play 60” program and the First Lady’s push for exercise most people are aware that exercise is critically important to our health. And now with the Olympics taking place, more and more people are starting to think about exercising. Not everyone is an athlete but everyone can find some way to exercise. Though exercise can be many things, and they do not all need a gym, exercise is not “running late”.
Not everyone is made for the gym and not everyone is comfortable going to a gym to exercise. Most people are not going to exercise if they don’t like what they’re doing or have any motivation to do it. There are also many of you out there that want to exercise but every time you’ve made the decision to “do it” and set yourself up a program and goals and you really give it a good try but after a couple of week you’re tired, sore and too busy so it all kinda just fades away and soon you’re back where you started. then you probably become frustrated, maybe even depressed wondering why can’t I “do it” other do? Well, there are many possibilities but the first thing you need to remember is if you are new to exercising on a regular basis you are not in shape. People who exercise on a regular basis are “in shape”, which means their bodies aren’t going to tire as easily and have a higher tolerance for exercise. Another very common made when initiating an exercise program is that people tend to set goals that are overwhelming and difficult to meet. If you’ve set goals that are difficult to achieve and you fail to achieve them then you’re not going to be as motivated to continue. You also want to remember if you don’t like what you’re doing then you’re definitely not going to put forth the effort to do it.
The first step to starting an exercise program is to get in shape. If you have any pre existing conditions including obesity or have been inactive for many years you should get a physical from your Dr before starting any program. Then the best way to get in shape is to start slowly. Something simple like take a walk for 5 minutes 3 times a week the increase ti to 5 minutes everyday slowly over a month. Then once you’ve been walking 5 minutes a day for a couple of weeks increase it to 10 minutes a day. As you adjust to the increase then continue to increase the amount of time you walk every week or two until you reach your goal.
Walking isn’t the only type of exercise available to people that are just beginning an exercise program there are many forms of exercise available, however if you are unaccustomed to running or cycling you will be less motivated to continue the program. Starting with something simple like walking can help get you in shape and your body able to tolerate more rigorous exercises. Swimming is another exercise that will get you in shape. For those of you that live near the beach try swimming out to the dock and back every now and then. Swimming is a great exercise for many people because it’s low impact yet works out your entire body. Because it works out your entire body you will definitely want to start slow as you will tire easily.
Motivation is the second biggest problem to starting and maintaining an exercise program. Face it if you don’t want to do it you’re not going to. So start focusing on why you are even considering starting an exercise program and the many benefits that you can get from exercising. It’s also alot easier if you have an exercise partner or partners and it doesn’t have to be a person. If you’re uncomfortable starting your exercise program with other people dogs make great companions. They will not only keep you company they will remind you when it’s time to walk. I swear they can tell time. I walk my dogs everyday and usually the same time and if I’m “running late” they let me know it’s time to go. Again once you’ve gotten more comfortable with exercising you can add something new to your routine. if you like playing basketball or some other team sport playing a game with your friends once or twice a week will increase your exercise tolerance. As you get in shape you’ll find you sleep better and in general feel better and when you feel better you are more motivated to continue exercising and setting new goals.
We are all individuals so you need to find what will motivate you and what you enjoy. Exercise can be fun and it can be different, if you’re a parent playing with the kids can not only be great exercise for you but also for the kids.