Author | DIAKADI Intern Ron Michelson Maybe you’re on this site because you want to know how to do the fitness thing.You might imagine it will take a lot of time and money to get going and it seems overwhelming. Let’s ratchet it down a couple of notches and not go diving head first into the deep end of the pool.
Your body is built to thrive on movement. When you are moving and also have some resistance to overcome, the bones become more dense, the metabolic system functions properly, the heart becomes stronger, you breathe more fully. You even get a little high without any drugs.
If you’ve been sedentary (50¢ word for couch potato) and you’re hauling around extra baggage or even if you're not but just out of shape, all is not lost. The human body is miraculously resilient and can get it together no matter what age you are or what shape you are in.
The Center for Disease Control has laid out guidelines here for the minimum physical activity to maintain good health. The aerobic/cardiorespiratory activity at 150 minutes a week seems frighteningly high but that’s only a bit more than 20 minutes a day. And here’s the wild card/get out of jail free....you don’t have to do it all at once! You could go walking briskly in the morning after breakfast...or before... for 10 or 12 minutes then again during lunch. Or, a quick activity four times a day for a bit more than 7 minutes each such as raking the leaves or sweeping the walk.
Get creative! You don’t have to just walk... have some fun with moving! Do you have a dog? Well, there ya go. Fetching or just rambunctious playing with Rover will do the trick. Dance to your favorite song like nobody’s watching. Take a coworker out to toss a baseball around during a break. Any kind of work out buddy is extremely beneficial to your success, by the way.
The point is to get your mind and body used to the idea of movement. You wanna start small and work up. The BBC reports Taiwan’s Department of Health’s latest research has shown even 15 minutes of exercise a day can add three years to a life and cut the chance of demise by 14%.
So, walk up he stairs instead of using the elevator. Park farther away in the mall and walk.
And, notice how your body is feeling.Things are getting better, aren’t they? You’re more relaxed, tingly sometimes, probably sleep better, too. Just go with that great, appreciative song your body is sending you because you’re moving around more.
You might remember I mentioned “resistance to overcome” awhile back which means weights of some sort. No, you won’t bulk out like Lou Ferrigno unless that’s your goal. But after you get used to and liking this movement thing, it will be time to add some weights. And weights, be they free weights or machines, are just movement. There’s about a zillion ways to move weights so get ye to a certified professional who can design a program with your specific goals in mind. The Mayo Clinic has a great article here which outlines how to determine your fitness goals.
With resistance training, as is mentioned in the above article, one of the very important considerations is if you like the exercise. If you don’t, take heart (and don’t let it be an excuse to quit, either!) because there are scads of exercises designed to work (move) each and every muscle group. Personally, regular barbell bench presses is not my strong suit- I don’t move them so well- but I do great at dumb bell bench presses. Same action, same general muscle group. I win!
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness has an in-depth publication here called “Fitness Fundamentals: Guidelines for Personal Exercise Programs” which gives an excellent rundown on how to approach your new fitness lifestyle. This is a wonderful place to start with very concise directions taking the mystery out of how this whole exercise adventure works. You may notice a variance of numbers between this and the previous articles but don’t let that bother you. These are all informed suggestions to take into consideration and if you listen to your body, it will tell what the right amounts of anything you are supposed to do.
I suggest to you the mentality of “there is no rush”. You are doing something to heal and strengthen your body. Your body will only respond at it’s own healthy rate. Any devoted and determined (not to be read as forced and obsessive) exercise regimen evolves through the mindful attention of your body. Start small. Just move. Listen.