The warmer days are arriving. Exercise is on many people’s minds, but they lack a trigger to get started, or just don’t know how to begin getting in shape. Paragon Orthopedics sees many patients who have regrets about not being in better shape after a serious injury. To help you, here are a few pointers from the American College of Sports Medicine to create an active exercise plan that gets you excited to begin!
Without knowing the basics of your muscles and how they work together, you might be putting yourself at risk for injury. The internet is full of information on the basic muscles used in exercising. Know the difference between good pain, from working your muscles harder, and bad pain, from joint problems or a ligament tear. Rest and stretching are sometimes what is needed, instead of trying to push through pain as you start a new program. Some health clubs have trainers to help you distinguish good pain from bad pain.
Ask yourself, “Why did I begin to exercise?” This clarity helps you stay positive and stick with the exercise program. Mental motivation can act as fuel to experience more positive effects.
For example, write down your pulse rate before and after walking a mile; count how many push-ups you can do in 30 seconds; and measure your waist circumference. You can’t know your progress unless you have a starting point.
Have in your mind a realistic picture of what being in good shape can be for you. These positive thoughts will propel you toward your goals.
Choose activities that interest you, not just what you see others doing. If running is boring, don’t plan on using the treadmill. However, if you enjoy the camaraderie of a spinning class, or prefer the weightlessness of swimming, use these activities to take you to your new fitness level.
The ACSM recommends adults have at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every week. Build the exercise into your daily routine. Don’t overdo it, especially in the beginning, but don’t do too little. Start out with something that feels comfortable and increase from there. Recognize what has stopped you in the past from sticking with a routine. Listen to your body.
Organize your daily and weekly goals on paper. Those who write down their goals can accomplish up to 16% more than those who don’t. Some people have found success using computer programs that monitor your progress, but if the thought of this makes your plan feel more complicated, go with paper and pencil.
Purchase those water weights or new walking shoes that don’t hurt your big toe. If you are more motivated with music, compile a soundtrack with your favorite songs. Studies show music is a really good motivator for longer and more vigorous exercise.
Develop a reward system before you begin your new plan, and make the rewards realistic.
After all that preparation, you should feel motivated to put your plan into action. Know improvements will take some time and give yourself several months to see an impact. Trust you have developed a great plan and can see it through for success!
All of this might sound like a lot of work, but studies have shown that the clarity of having a plan produces better fitness results. Always consult a therapist or doctor before you begin if you are already being monitored for health conditions. Don’t be afraid to reset your goals to keep your plan realistic, especially if you’ve had a setback. Maybe you set your goals too high and you’ve found the plan to be overwhelming. Reassess and create something you can stick to doing. If an activity has become boring, switch the plan to one that makes you more interested.
Get started today!
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