Begin at the Beginning

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several decades, you’ve heard by now that exercise is good for you. Visit
your doctor, read the newspaper or a magazine, listen to the nightly news or watch Dr. Oz and you’ll hear the message “exercise!” But, the problem many people face is…..how do you begin an exercise program? No one talks about the very beginning.

The typical generic exercise prescription recommendation is 20 minutes, 3 times a week. Twenty minutes?! Seriously? That’s a
lifetime for someone new to exercising! Head out the door for a 20 minute run right now and I guarantee you that you would absolutely hate it! Every part of your body would hurt. Your lungs would be on fire. Your muscles would be screaming at you, and your heart would be pounding out of your chest. Sounds like fun, right? Exercise programs begin with this 20 minute time frame recommendation because this is the minimum amount of exercise necessary for promoting the health benefits of exercise. So, keep that time in mind as a benchmark, but let’s begin at the beginning, the very beginning!

First, make an appointment with your physician for a complete physical to make certain you are cleared for exercise. A physical will give you and your physician some baseline readings for comparison later on like, blood pressure, weight, resting heart rate, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, etc. All good numbers to know! And, when you return for another physical one year from now, you can compare your lab results and see the health benefits of your new active lifestyle. Next, select the mode of exercise. What interests you? Or, maybe, it’s more like, what do you dislike the least? Consider walking or running as viable options because they are very simple and effective forms of exercise. Your options are limitless with walking or running. You can walk right out the front door and go; no driving to the gym necessary. You can walk or run at any time, any place, outside or inside, by yourself, with your dog, or with a group. No appointment necessary!

Begin at the beginning; if you can walk or run for one minute, that’s where you start. The important point is that you get started! Workouts should leave you feeling energized, not depleted. Gradually increase your exercise time by adding one minute every other day.  Tracking your exercise time daily will help you monitor your progress and serve as positive reinforcement. Your goal is building your exercise period to that magical 20 minutes. Allow one day a week off for rest and recovery. Believe it or not, you will be looking forward to your exercise time sooner than you think!

Exercise time is “me” time, the time that we never seem to get. Use this time to focus on yourself, organize your thoughts, plan your day, make your “lists”, breathe deeply, relax, and enjoy your surroundings. Exercise is meditation in motion.

If you think you might enjoy the guidance of a coach, the company and the accountability of a group, check out our Walk-Run Accomplishment Program (WRAP) that begins in August. We offer several classes in the Orlando area.

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