Before starting any physical fitness program, it is important that you see your doctor and have a complete physical in order to determine if you are healthy enough for rigorous activity. Depending on your age, physical condition, and other health issues, you may be limited in the types of programs you can participate in. You should not be dissuaded, however. If you have bad knees or back issues, you should avoid running, but you should be able to walk. If you are overweight, you may need to start out with lightweight training and other exercises until you lose enough weight to begin building muscle.
There are a few tips to help you get started on a fitness program:
• Create realistic goals
After you have a physical exam and have found the types of fitness activities you want to participate in, you should set some goals for yourself that can be used as a guide, motivational tool, and as a way to gauge your progress. Your goals should:
> Be realistic for your age, weight, and current physical condition
> Fit into the time you have set aside for fitness
> Increase slightly as you become more physically fit
> Encourage you to move forward instead of holding you back
Writing goals down in a diary or a piece of paper will make them seem more attainable. While you may need to adjust your goals from time to time, overall, they should remain constant.
• Invest only in equipment you need
Many people are more concerned about having the right fitness equipment rather than using it each day. There are plenty of fitness activities you can participate in without having to invest in a lot of equipment or even a gym membership.
Prioritizing what you want from your fitness plan will allow you to make good decisions. If you cannot get to a gym, then consider buying a few pieces that you will use each day. Making a list of the types of exercises you want to do each day can give you a better idea of the equipment you will need.
• Maintain motivation
This is where many people fail when it comes to physical fitness. While they have the best intentions, they buy equipment and take time out of their busy schedules to exercise, they run out of motivation and stop exercising altogether. Planning for these moments is important when creating a fitness plan. Deciding what will keep you motivated can help you along the way. Rewarding yourself after reaching a goal or maintaining your schedule for a fixed amount of time will help you stay on track.
• Find the time
Devoting the same time each day for fitness is a great way to meet your goals, stay motivated, and become physically fit. If you plan on starting a walking program or you want to take a yoga class, schedule these activities at the same time during the week. Visit the gym at the same time or exercise at home at the same time. Creating a routine will help you incorporate fitness into your life, which will lead to a lifetime of good health.
• Record your progress
Recording your progress will help you meet goals, motivate you to keep going, and help you determine which fitness activities you have time for and which ones are the most effective. Write down daily thoughts, what you did, and how long you exercised.
When choosing a fitness program, you should keep the following in mind:
• Amount of time you have each day to devote to a program
• Amount of money you can spend on a fitness program
• If you want to participate in a fitness program with others or if you want to create one for yourself
• Available fitness programs in your area
• The types of programs that will keep you motivated
Since there are many fitness programs to choose from, you may want to try a few in order to determine which ones you are the most comfortable with.
Keep in mind that just because you choose one fitness activity it does not mean you have to stick with it if you aren’t enjoying it. Find an activity that is fun, reduces stress, and is something you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle.
Making sure you maintain your fitness program is the biggest concern people have. Because of life events, jobs, family, and other obstacles, you may need to adopt a fitness plan that changes with you.
Going to the gym is a great way to create a routine, maintain your fitness program, and is a place you can visit even when far from home. Many hotels have gyms on-site that you can use. This way you will not be missing workouts even though you need to travel for business or to visit family.
Other ways to maintain your fitness program include:
• Schedule activities two or three times a week instead of five
• Stretching and doing light exercises when ill or injured
• Getting your family involved in staying fit
• Making appointments on your calendar for gym days
• Not being too hard on yourself when you miss a day
Being honest with yourself when creating a fitness program is the best way to develop a realistic plan that fits your lifestyle.
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