Congratulations, you have just decided that you want to be more active! You have taken the first major step to a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of being physically active range from improved mood, better sleep, to a healthier heart. Before getting started, it is important to know your WHY. Why do you want to begin this journey for the first time, or why do you want to start again (if you have done this before)?
At times it can be intimidating to begin an exercise program because it seems impossible. Social media is inundated with people looking good while doing these insane workouts or talking about the perfect exercise program…it all can feel a bit overwhelming. I am here to tell you it is not as hard as it seems…exercising is not rocket science! Effective exercise is based upon science, but we promise you do not need to know aerospace engineering to be successful.
One Step at a Time
Remember, it is okay to start small! If you have never exercised before or took a break from it, you do not have to exercise everyday to see a change. No need to go from 0-100 in a day/week. It is okay to take your time, just going from 0-1 is a huge success. Maybe you cannot exercise for an hour or even 30 minutes, you can start with 5-10 minutes…yes you heard correctly! That may sound silly but remember that before it was no minutes. Anything is always better than nothing. Research shows that any amount of time is better than no time at all. Before you know it, you will be doing 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and so on.
Do What You Like to Do
Choose something you like to do, not something that allowed Tiana to lose 20 lbs. If you are someone that likes to run, go for runs, but if you are someone who does not enjoy running there is no reason to try to start running. There are so many ways to be active and when you do what you enjoy you are more likely to stick with it. Maybe you do no know what you like so to try something new. For example, on this website there are classes for dancing, muscle conditioning, balance, yoga, hula hooping, and more. Be open to trying these classes. You are not restricted to one thing, and once you find what you enjoy it does not even feel like exercising.
Starting something new might be challenging at times and it is even harder without support. Although not impossible to start exercising on your own, it is easier when you have people that are backing you up. Invite your family to be more active with you. Ask your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, cousins, friends, or anyone around you to go to sign up for the classes on this website or to go hiking. Surround yourself with people who will support you and your goals, this is the true definition of a fitness community!
Check Your Expectations
Set goals for yourself, it will help you know where you are heading. It helps to set both short-term and long-term goals. Keep in mind it takes time. When you are trying to reach the second floor you do not just jump, and you are transported there. No, you go step by step until you reach the second floor. Same concept applies here. Sometimes we want everything quick and easy, but if we are making lifestyle changes it is going to progress as you go. You did not become inactive overnight, and so the transformation is not going to happen overnight either. Do not get discouraged when you do not see results right away. Focus on consistency and how you feel. Celebrate the small stuff. You completed on week of walking! Celebrate that. Also avoid comparing yourself with other people because everyone’s journey is different. Always focus on the positive and remember your WHY.
Starting something new can be scary but also very excited. You can do this as nothing is too hard to do with consistent small steps. We only get better at doing things the more practice we have. The hardest step is deciding to start, and you have already taken that step!
Zamora, Dulce. “Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Exercise.” WebMD, WebMD, 12 Feb. 2008, www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/fitness-beginners-guide.
Cynthia Morales is completing her Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Fitness at Long Beach State University. She loves promoting healthy lifestyle changes and helping people through their own journey to help them reach their wellness goals.