Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Well, it's official. You've decided to start an exercise program. You've purchased new shoes, joined a gym, and you're ready to give it 110%. You're thinking maybe an hour a day, five days a week...just to start out. That should be no problem. You're not going to let the fact that you've been completely sedentary for the last two years stop you. You are fired up and ready to go. And while you're making changes, what the heck, you're thinking you might as well send your diet into a complete upheaval as well, right? After all, the usual drive-thru and convenience fare that you've been consuming for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for nearly as long as you've been sedentary won't do with the new fit lifestyle you'll be living. It's all settled then, 5 grueling workouts a week and salads every day for lunch. You can feel the fat melting away just thinking about it! But before you go any further...STOP! That's right, stop right there. It's great to be fired up about wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, and I definitely don not want to put that fire out, but aggressive plans like the one above will only lead to two things:

1. Near-certain injury. You cannot expect your body to perform to such standards in its deconditioned state. Your body needs time to build up strength and endurance. Begin with short bouts of exercise a couple of days per week, and progress from there. It's tempting to rush the process, but not wise to do so.

2. Complete failure and an abandonment of your routine altogether. The mind can only process so much change so fast. Adopt small changes and just one or two at a time. This is true for activity and diet as well. Make sure you have made the new changes habit before introducing new changes.  If you set unrealistic goals, your body and mind will be sure to show you how unrealistic they really are, leaving you only with feelings of demoralization...and a pair of lightly used sneakers sitting in the back of the closet.

As always, be sure to consult with your health care provider before starting any fitness routine. He or she can recommend any restrictions you should follow based on your medical history and conditions. If you need additional help getting started with an exercise program, a fitness professional can design and help you safely implement a goal-based training program.