Beginning an Exercise Routine

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Many people that begin a diet are beginning a journey towards better health. Maybe you have eaten the standard American diet for years––a diet loaded with grains, corn, sugar, potatoes, starches and processed foods, only to find your waistline expanding, your health failing and your quality of life diminishing. Perhaps you have decided that enough is enough and that it is time to take control of your own health. That decision begins with radically changing your diet; good for you for taking that first step.

In addition to radically changing your diet, you may have decided that it is best to implement an exercise routine. You realize that science continues to avow the efficacy of exercise in promoting good health, slowing the disease process and assisting in boosting the mood of those that participate. However, similar to radically changing your diet, beginning an exercise routine can be intimidating, challenging and just plain difficult. You are not alone. Many people are intimidated by walking into a gym, or fear looking silly next to slim fit people who seem to have it together and know what they are doing. Many people simply do not now where to even begin.

It is important to remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It is ok to be a beginner, to learn how to exercise and to progress towards fitness. The end result, in this case, is certainly something that is worth the learning process.

You should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. Once you have his or her permission, here are some simple bits of advice that might hopefully help you stay on track.

Walk before you run.

In the most literal sense, start slow. Maybe you find it difficult to run because of your weight, or joint or muscle problems, or because of your cardiovascular health. Walking is a perfect way to begin exercising. Eventually, you will find that walking––something you perhaps, initially, found difficult––is now easy, and that you can walk farther than you could when you began. Then, maybe you begin to run, just for a portion of your walk, and eventually, perhaps you increase the amount of time you run compared to the time you walk. It may take one, two or three years, depending on where you are with your health. If you stick with it, you will be amazed at the results.

Consider working with a trainer.

Trainers can assist in helping you develop proper form, critical for preventing injury. Working with a trainer can also help clarify your fitness goals and how to achieve them.

Find accountability.

This can be as simple as finding a workout buddy. Whenever you do not feel like exercising, having someone encourage you to exercise anyway can be an important asset to have.

Set reasonable goals.

For many, walking to the end of the driveway and back may be a reasonable, initial goal; your initial goal does not have to be to run a marathon or compete in the Olympics. Set realistic, attainable goals. Celebrate each accomplishment. The journey of a thousand miles seems much more attainable broken up into mile-long increments.

Find something you enjoy.

The point of exercising is to be fit and healthy. However, enjoying the process is as important as enjoying the results. Not everyone likes to run or spend hours in the gym lifting weights. That is fine; there is an entire world of exercise options available to you. It can be as simple as hiking, riding a bike, swimming, chopping wood or gardening. For many, it may be sports. Regardless of what your health goals are, find something you enjoy and it will make attaining those goals much easier.

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