Spring into Health!

How many times has your doctor said, “You need to start exercising.” You want more energy.{{more}} Nobody likes being tired at the end of the day; but you never exercised and don’t know how to start.

“I don’t like to exercise.” We all have bodies and on the most basic level, we are physical beings. If the body dies, the brain goes with it. Physical activity affects the mind and body on different levels from the neuromuscular pathways to energetic flow to spiritual connection. Because of the myriad of mind-body connections, I don’t think it is possible for a person not to enjoy some kind of physical activity.

Set yourself up for success. Try many activities at least twice until you find one you enjoy, then start slow and be patient. Have short-term small attainable goals. Remember you are making a significant, permanent lifestyle change so pace it like saving for retirement. You can’t get fit in one day, but you can begin to make deposits in the fitness bank. Exercise is cumulative. Every day you put in the bank will more than double your quality of life on those days when you need it most; seasonal cold, or high stress times. Be patient and kind with yourself. Developing new habits is never quick but the results are life changing.

Do you like spending your free time alone or around people? Do you tend to put yourself last? If you answer “yes” to the last question regardless of how you answered the first, you may be better off enrolling in a group exercise class. It eliminates the scheduling decision. The camaraderie you will develop with the others in the class will act as a motivator to show up and not skip. However, if you put a high value on your quiet time, then begin with an individual activity like walking/jogging, cycling, rollerblading or swimming. Establish a habit, then in the winter months, consider a personal trainer for motivation and dedicated training.

Think you might be interested in yoga? Experiment with the different styles until you find a style and an instructor that resonates with you. The benefits of yoga extend beyond the postures.

You don’t need a gym membership to be active. Now that the days are getting longer, go for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. You’ll be amazed at the details you see when you aren’t in the car. Don’t stroll, be brisk, feel your heart rate elevate and maybe begin to perspire. Later, include some short one minute jogs during the walk.

If you think that you would like the structure of a gym, then visit several, ask questions, be critical. The big box gyms have a wide variety of equipment but tend to be more impersonal. The smaller gyms have a community feeling; you are more likely to recognize a friendly face from town. Look for a gym with educated, certified trainers. The trainer should have some knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and clear understanding that the road to health changes with every decade.

Start slow, make a schedule, record each workout (what, how long, how did I feel during the activity, breakthrough moments), and most of all have fun. Now go out and play!