As the weather gets warmer – and fall layers are replaced by tank tops and shorts – most people are left wondering how to remove their OWN layer that has accumulated in the winter months.
Here’s how to start an exercise program and stick to it, while keeping your excitement level high, and you’ll be ready for the beach in no time!
1. First consult your doctor, if needed. If you’re a man over 45 or a woman over 55 and you plan to do a vigorous activity like running, experts recommend that you see a doctor before you start an exercise program. At any age, see your doctor before you begin if you have a heart condition, feel chest pain during exercise or at rest, lose your balance, have lost consciousness, have joint or bone problems, take medications for high blood pressure or your heart, have lost weight for no apparent reason, or have wounds on your feet that don’t heal.
2.Set a goal. The most important part of starting an exercise program is identifying a goal. Your goal might be:
Manage a health condition
Improve your stamina
Be able to buy clothes in a smaller size
Your exercise program also may be a way for you to socialize. Taking exercise classes or exercising with a friend are both good ways to be social.
“Is your goal to be healthier, to live a more active, longer life?”
Then aim for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise on about five days a week. Moderate intensity means you’re working hard, but you’re still able to carry on a conversation for 20 seconds without gasping for air.
If weight loss is your goal,
bump it up to 60 to 90 minutes of exercise at a moderate intensity on about five days a week.
If you want to increase your intensity to something more vigorous, such as jogging instead of walking, then you only need to do that three times a week,
3. Choose your activities. If exercise is to be a daily part of your life, be sure to choose an activity that you enjoy. Are you happy to lace up your shoes for a brisk walk around your neighborhood, or would you rather hop on a bike for a long ride? Love to play tennis, or do you prefer an aerobics or kickboxing class at the gym? To avoid boredom, mix it up a bit by occasionally changing your walking route or hiking a trail instead, or by varying the activities themselves. If you’re a woman looking for a gym that won’t be intimidating, tryan all-women’s facility.
4. Types of Exercises
Exercises can be grouped into four main categories, although many exercises fit into more than one category:
Aerobic exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. These exercises help your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. They may prevent or delay many diseases, such as diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and heart disease.
Aerobic sports activities include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking, climbing, tennis, and basketball
Aerobic activities you can do every day include dancing, yard work, pushing your grandchild on a swing, and vacuuming
Improving your muscle strength can help you climb stairs, carry groceries, and stay independent. You can build muscle strength by:
Lifting weights or using a resistance band
Performing everyday activities, such as carrying a full laundry basket from the basement, carrying your smaller grandchildren, or lifting things in the garden
Balance exercises help prevent falls, which is a concern for older adults. Many exercises that strengthen the muscles in the legs, hips, and lower back will improve your balance. It is often best to learn balance exercises from a physical therapist before starting on your own.
Balance exercises may include:
Standing on one foot
Standing on tiptoe to reach something on the top shelf
Walking up and down the stairs
Stretching can help your body stay flexible. To stay limber:
Learn shoulder, upper arm, and calf stretches
Take yoga classes
Do everyday activities, such as making your bed or bending over to tie your shoes
5. Schedule it in ink. Part of the reason exercise may feel overwhelming is because of our busy schedules,. But you can probably find places where you can fit in exercise. Maybe it means getting up an hour earlier in the morning, taking time during your lunch break, or getting on the treadmill when you watch television at night. It may help to put exercise right into your day planner along with must-do meetings and doctor appointments. Make the time. People who workout don’t have more time than people who don’t. They’ve just practiced making exercise a priority Scheduling your workouts and treating them like any other appointment you wouldn’t miss may help you stick to your program.
If you don’t have 30 to 60 minutes at one stretch, then break up your exercise throughout the day. Research shows you can get the same benefits when you walk for 10 or 20 minutes three times a day.
6. Recruit a built-in motivator. Staying motivated to exercise week after week is hard for most people, but if you invite a friend to go for walks with you or join a cycling group, you’ll have extra motivation to show up and work hard.
Another option: Hire a certified personal trainer to work with you at home or at the gym. A trainer can build a custom-made exercise program to help you meet your goal, and knowing your trainer is waiting for you will help get you out the door.
7. Track your progress. Another way to stay motivated is to keep track of your progress with an exercise log. Write down the exercise, how long you did it for, the distance you covered, and how you felt doing it. Over time you’ll see the improvements you’re making and be motivated to do more.
8. Get off the Beaten Path. Stay active when your not in the gym. Have you ever tried Paddle Boarding? Salsa Dancing? Going Ape? Trapeze School? Physical activity isn’t boring, but how you participate in it can be.
9. Face Your Fitness Foes. Does vacation throw your exercising schedule out of whack? Do projects at work overtake your activity time? Do injuries sideline you? Boredom? Fear of success? Fitness foes can be beaten once they’ve been identified. You can change your vacation style, set work limits, get guidance for injury-free activity, find new challenges, or face your fears with training and support.
10. Use a Script. We tell ourselves things like- Skipping this one little walk won’t matter all that much. Next time, be prepared with an answer for this excuse. Use images of past successful experiences to remind yourself of how good exercise makes you feel. Or repeat a simple phrase to yourself, such as, Every little bit makes a big difference. If you use planning, flexibility and imagination, you won’t ever need to feel like a dropout again.