The hardest part of any fitness program is getting started – overcoming what I call “negative inertia”. You know you should be exercising, but you sit on the couch and wonder how do I begin? What can I do and where can I do it? And there’s also the needless worry that you’ll embarrass yourself in front of the super fit “jocks” because you’re so out of shape. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Everyone has to take that first step on their road to fitness and here are some things to consider when getting started.
First ask yourself what do you want to get out of a fitness program? What are your goals? Do you want to lose weight and look better? Are you concerned about better heart health? Do you want to compete in races? There are no right or wrong answers to the question. Just know what you want.
Second is to choose a sport or exercise that you like and one that will help you achieve your goals. Usually running is the first thing people think of, but if running is not for you, maybe swimming or cycling is a better fit. And don’t stop there. There are many different sports to choose from: rowing, kayaking, stand up paddling, dragon boat racing (yes you read that right). Strength training at the gym is another option. And if you realize that your first choice is not what you hoped it would be, choose something else.
And third, realize that the vast majority of people who are exercising every day are not “jocks”. They’re all regular people just trying to stay fit and healthy. And most will welcome you and encourage you.
As you move into your fitness program, start gradually with short easy efforts. Increase the volume and intensity as your body gets more adapted to the stress of the workouts. Yes, you will feel some aches and pains at the beginning, but that should be temporary until your body adjusts.
Another thing is to consider training with a workout group or club. All groups welcome new members regardless of their level of ability or experience. They offer advice, encouragement, and there’s a measure of accountability to make sure you show up for the workouts. Some also offer group discounts for races, training clothes and merchandise, etc.
And if you are really serious, you might want to seek out a fitness trainer. There are many certified trainers and coaches available in our area. They will help you set up a workout plan, ensure you do the exercises correctly, encourage and motivate you to succeed.
Every goal is accomplished in small increments. Identify manageable milestones on the road to your success and as you achieve each milestone you get closer to being the healthy, fit individual you want to be.