Looking to get moving? Exercising can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be; the key is to get going without overdoing it!
Doctors, friends, family; everyone encourages you hop off the couch and find an activity you enjoy. From weight loss to improved health, a better mood and more energy, it won't take long for you to find that fitting in a regular exercise regimen can make a world of difference in how you feel. Combined with a healthy diet, you'll get more out of every single day, just by making that little extra effort!
If you're starting from scratch, getting started can be a little intimidating. We put together a few tips on how to go from couch potato to athlete; because if you're exercising, that's what you are!
Talk to your doctor. Before starting any new activities, it's always a good idea to talk to your primary care physician. They'll be able to help determine how much activity is right for you to get started, and give you some areas to set goals. Ask for a healthy weight loss goal, a lower blood pressure value, or another area they'd like to see you improve; make those goals safe, attainable, but still a challenge, and don't make them something overnight. Give yourself 3-6 months to make them a reality.
Start small. A 30 minute brisk walk might be enough to get your heart rate up! For the first two to three weeks, focusing on consistency matters even more than volume or intensity. It's all about getting in the habit of working out, and fitting it into your daily schedule. Do things that are fun and convenient, especially if finding time is a tough thing for you. Go for a bike ride, walk with friends after work, or consider joining a gym that lets you try cardio equipment or weights. It's a bonus if you can enlist the help of a personal trainer, who can give you guided workouts as well as helping to prevent injury.
Ramp up. Whatever activities you enjoy, work to increase the volume and intensity, but not necessarily at the same time. Go from a walk to a jog over your normal loop, or extend your walk by another 15 minutes; alternate shorter and harder with longer and easier to build a more well-rounded fitness.
Listen to your body. Aches, pains, and sore muscles are telling you that the exercise you're doing is working! The key is to balance work with recovery; pick a day or two a week to rest, perhaps spending 10-15 minutes stretching instead of biking, running, swimming, walking, or lifting. Make note of those aches and communicate changes in your activity level to Dr. Bill, who can help with stretches that will help you feel fresher and eager to get back into action!
Keep it fun. When you know you're up for it, consider joining a team. From softball, basketball, soccer, even a local cycling club, meeting new people who know the sport might help you develop a passion for something new, and help to keep you moving more often!
Need more advice on how to make a change for the better? Want to workout, but not sure if your back or joints are up to it? Stop by and we'll help you take the very first step to more complete wellness.