Whether you are 18 or 80, you need to exercise. Obviously, a senior citizen is going to exercise differently than someone in their teens. And if you haven’t worked out or exercised in a while, you may be wondering how you should get started. The best way of benefiting from exercise is always to start slow, especially if your physical fitness level is the byproduct of a lethargic and inactive lifestyle.
Follow the 5 powerful steps below to get started with your exercise program, and you will benefit from the total body physical, mental and emotional rewards that physical fitness delivers.
Talk with your doctor about the appropriate exercise plan
No one knows your body better than you do, but sometimes your desires and goals don’t mesh with reality. That is why you should always talk to your doctor about developing a smart but challenging exercise plan, especially if you lead a predominantly sedentary life. If you haven’t been to see your doctor in a while, schedule a complete checkup. When the results are in, let your doctor know you are serious about getting fit and becoming healthier, and then take that professional advice to heart.
Be honest with yourself, fair but firm
There is a reason that New Year’s resolutions boost gym memberships around the world. That is because so many people resolve to lose weight, burn fat, build a beach body and create six pack abs to kick off every new year. But did you know that if more than 5% to 10% of gym members showed up at any one time, there would be too many people to use the equipment?
That is because human beings may have great intentions to exercise and get in shape, but they don’t follow-up because they did not honestly create an achievable plan. Be honest with yourself when you get started with any exercise program, no matter your level of fitness. If you set your goals too high or too low, you will not be happy with the results, and you probably will not stick to your exercise program.
Exercise on a set schedule, at the same time
Several studies have shown that repetition builds habit in most human beings, usually in anywhere from 17 to 28 days. While everyone is different, it is agreed that the human body begins to do things subconsciously after certain actions and behaviors are repeated for a consistent amount of time.
You don’t consciously think about clicking on a light switch when you enter a room, you just do it. When you need to walk from one location to another, you don’t tell yourself to put 1 foot in front of the other, it just happens. When you begin your exercise program, schedule your periods of exercise on the same days, and at the same times. Make sure the schedule does not conflict with your personal or work life, adhere to it strictly for at least 4 to 6 weeks, and you will develop subconscious habits that help you stick to your plan.
Record your efforts, and your results
When you get started with exercise, write everything down. On a physical journal or your computer, record your exercises and your results. The best way to stick to an exercise program over time is to turn it into a healthy habit. And the easiest way to habitually exercise, especially when you are first getting started and it may be difficult, is by seeing the results of your efforts. Record your efforts when you first start exercising, and you will find this simple but healthy habit impacting your results positively.
Keep a mood journal
We discussed keeping an exercise performance journal. It is also very important to keep a mood journal, especially when you initially get started. Exercise releases powerful endorphins in your brain. These amazing mood boosters have been consistently proven to fight depression and give you a sense of well-being and satisfaction.
Keeping a mood journal which records your emotional state before and after exercising will give you plenty of positive motivation the next time you are scheduled for exercise and are looking for an excuse to back out.