A Healthy Lifestyle Change

You’ve made the decision to commit to a healthier lifestyle. You have made nutritional adjustments that work best for you, you have been mindful of your food choices while eating out, you are focusing on staying positive, and now it is time to start exercising. If you’re like most, you might not know exactly where to start when it comes to exercising. A simple internet search on this topic can become overwhelming quickly. You will find so many recommendations for workout routines, personal trainers, gym memberships, and fitness classes, that is can be easy to feel discouraged before you even get started. Luckily, Elizabeth Millard, ACE certified personal trainer and Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, has outlined an easy to follow, 4 step process.

How To Start Exercising

  1. Start With Walking: Millard cites fitness expert Jimmy Minardi of Minardi Training, when she explains that when you first start exercising, it can be stressful on your joints. This is especially true if you are carrying any extra weight. Walking is low-impact, and therefore, a great starting point. Try switching up locations, having friends join you, or bring your dog along! Combining exercise with time outdoors and socialization is great for both your physical and mental health.
  2. Focus On Short Term Goals: When you set short term, achievable goals you are doing yourself a huge favor. With each goal you complete, you will feel proud and more motivated to continue. For example, aim to walk for 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. When you achieve this goal and feel comfortable, aim for every other day, and then gradually work up to 30 minutes everyday. Add 5 minutes every week until you are able to walk for an hour. You will be surprised how effective these types of goals can be!
  3. Build Intensity: As you begin to feel stronger, you can start adding more intensity. If you are walking outside, start alternating between a regular pace and speed walking. If you are on a treadmill, work on adding speed and/or an incline. You can also start looking into strength training options, such as walking with weights, using resistance bands, or doing body weight exercises to warm up for your walk.
  4. Keep Exploring: Never view your workouts as a punishment or work. This will kill your motivation and your desire to continue. If you start to notice these feelings, switch things up and explore different options. Go for a hike, pick up an activity such as tennis, or schedule regular pick up games with friends. Redirect your thoughts on how good you feel and how you are able to do more than you used to. Another good tip from Minardi, is to start focusing on long term goals that aren’t related to weight loss. He uses the example of signing up for a 5k or surpassing your personal best records for runs, weight lifting, etc.

The most important thing with this 4 step process is to not judge yourself or push yourself to get to the next step. Everyone’s fitness journey is unique to them and there is no time limit. Go at your own pace and celebrate your own personal victories. Most of all, enjoy the journey! For more tips from Millard and Minardi, click here!

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