The keyword in any fitness program is activity. Activity would indicate being active. But just what is being active? Active according to Webster is “acting, working, causing motion or change, lively, agile”. “Couch Potato” does not fit this description.
Lively and agile brings to mind just what an exercise program should be. Even starting out at a slow pace can sometimes be lively for those of us that are a little or a lot out of shape. It is amazing how quickly one can lose the ability to exert any energy. We lose endurance so quickly. Have you tried to start a walking program, gotten a block or two down the road and said, “This is too much…I can not do it” and given up? Never give up! One or two blocks are a start. You may even have to start out with half a block and build up from there.
The key elements for any fitness program should include:
MOVEMENT Movement is the first and foremost part of any exercise program. Be it stretching or just walking to the mailbox, YOU NEED MOVEMENT. However, we would encourage you to do more movement than this to keep in good health. For ideal movement you could build a program around stretching, walking, running, bicycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, golfing, bowling, tennis or whatever you like. When you are drying off after a shower or bath do the twist! Any movement will be a start. YOU NEED MOVEMENT
STRETCHING When we get up in the morning we feel like stretching. This gets the blood flowing. Take a little time to stretch out all of your limbs. If you are in the shower in the morning take a minute to do some wall push-ups and leg stretches. Stretching warms up your muscles and helps avoid injuries to your muscles and joints.
Sound overwhelming already? Break it down into steps:
Think about why you do not want to move. Is it because when you move you become extremely tired or your muscles and joints ache? Or is there another reason. Evaluate the reason.
Seek out your medical professional Have them check out your physical condition. Get their advice as to how much exercise you can take according to your physical condition.
Think of the activities you once did that you were passionate about. As you get use to moving think of the activities you once did that you were passionate about. Was it bike riding, swimming in the lake in the summer, hiking in the woods, strolling through a park or what would you love to do if you thought you had the energy?
Start Slow Start slow and work up! Set goals for yourself during this time. The first week tell yourself you are going to walk a block (or even half a block). Do that everyday for the first week. Each week thereafter add a block of walking. Even heart patients are encouraged to walk.
If you need low-impact exercise, water fitness [http://www.products4fitness.com/water-fitness] is great on muscles and joints. Go to the neighborhood pool and swim (or water walk) one lap from side to side (the width of the pool) for a week. Each week thereafter add a lap swimming (or water walking).
Whatever the exercise START SLOW and work up. The more you work up the more you will feel like doing and the more your body parts will love you. You will begin to feel better, be more energetic and start looking for activities you enjoy that will help you with your fitness program. If you dive in and start BIG you will feel sore and horrible for a few days and will not want to do it again because it was too difficult and you ache and feel run down. By starting SLOW and working up, your body becomes accustomed to the work and will strengthen without feeling so tired and sore. Your muscles need to heal from exertion. If you over exert on the first day, it is harder to stay with it. By starting slow and building up you will not only increase your strength but you will also increase your endurance. Make it fun!