If you’re just starting to workout, it’s easy to talk yourself out of exercising. Even when I have the best intentions to work out, the excuses are always easy to find. Yet starting an exercise program is an important decision. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime. That’s why I’d like to show how you can create your own personal fitness plan for your health goals.
Starting a fitness plan may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, help you lose weight, improve your sleep habits, and even help with your self-esteem.
Before You Begin
Try assessing and recording your fitness level. Why is this important? Because assessing and recording your fitness needs can help you measure your progress. It can also help provide you something to achieve with your fitness plan. What are your goals? To lose 30 pounds, run your first 5k, increase your flexibility, etc.? Assessing and recording your aerobic and muscular fitness will help you to stay motivated in order to reach the finish line. The Mayo Clinic has a great article on ways to measure your fitness levels with a few simple tests. The article is found here.
Create a Balanced Routine
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Does this sound like where you currently match up? The good news is that the guidelines suggest you spread your exercises out during the course of a week. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. And to make it easier, schedule time to exercise the same way you’d make any other appointment.
If you’re planning to invest in exercise equipment or gear, choose something that’s practical, enjoyable, and easy to use. Purchasing a great pair of athletic shoes is a great place to start. You might also consider using fitness apps on your smartphone or iWatch that provides tracks your activity and monitors your heart rate. Also, if you can’t make it to the gym, consider utilizing free online workout videos that you can access anytime. I wrote more about this in a previous article.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard. Also, be flexible. If you’re not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day or two off. The worst thing you’d want to do is burn out. And if you lose motivation, set yourself some new goals or try a new activity. Sometimes exercising with a friend or taking a fitness class may help, too.
Were these fitness plan tips helpful for you? Is there something else I should include for later posts? I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to sign up below to register for our weekly newsletter that delivers more encouraging and helpful blog posts straight to your inbox.