Women are willing to have their breasts compressed during a mammogram reducing this sensitive tissue to objects resembling IHOP pancakes. Men are willing to bend over from the waist and patiently wait for the medical diagnostic finger to determine the health of their prostate. These are two procedures that are uncomfortable and dreaded by each gender respectively, yet are performed on most adults on a regular basis.
Exercise, on the other hand, increases energy, strengthens the body, the immune system and helps men and women remain flexible and functional over a lifetime. It improves the way they feel and look. Doesn’t it seem strange that men and women have decided to draw the line in the sand complying with exercise????????
Your doctor has now reinforced the message, “it’s time to begin exercising!” Unfortunately, this is usually where the doctor walks out of the treatment room and into the next patient’s room. If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, the doctor doesn’t say, “you need blood pressure medication” and then walk out of the room. He or she pulls out their prescription pad and provides specific instructions on what medication is needed, what quantity is needed and how often. When it comes to exercise, you’re basically left on your own. Why is the “prescription” for exercise any less credible or important than prescriptive drugs?
If you’re in this situation and new to exercise what options are available. There are DVD’s for home use, there are home exercise machines like The Total Gym or Bowflex, there are dance, aerobic and zumba classes, there are gyms, martial arts and boxing facilities. Where should you start?
I encourage people new to exercise to follow 3 basic rules:
Start with something you consider relatively easy
Create specific times in your schedule to insure completing your exercise routine.
Begin a routine 2-3X/week.
It has taken many years to reach the level of deconditioning you have successfully achieved. Don’t attempt to “jumpstart” the process by overtraining (typically daily in the beginning) because this will most likely result in PAIN and FAILURE. Slow and easy creates much better motivation and much better results (LONG TERM!)
Start with 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the time allotment to 30 minutes. On a weekly basis, increase the duration of exercise by 5 minutes. Ex. If week 1 consists of 5 minutes of walking per workout, week 2 should consist of 10 minutes of walking per workout. Once you have reached the 30 minute mark, work on changing things up by incorporating interval training. This means you can walk slowly for 2 minutes, quickly for 2 minutes, jog for 15 seconds, walk up hill for 15 seconds, etc… Become creative. You don’t have to conform to a strict order! Simply change things up so your body doesn’t acclimate to doing the same thing each and every training session.
I have a Total Gym for the house AND a gym membership. This reduces the excuses because it provides access to resistive exercise equipment 24/7. WHAT ABOUT COST?!!! Many times you can get used home equipment (in excellent condition because the equipment was barely used) at bargain prices. Gym memberships can be found as low as $10/month. The big picture is cost should not be an issue with either or both purchases. It is certainly more cost effective than damaged health!
When incorporating machines, bands, dumbells, kettlebells, or any other equipment you choose for resistive exercises, begin with LIGHT RESISTANCE and keep the routine SHORT. Ten minutes is plenty to begin a routine. Do one set of 6-10 repetitions per body region to start. You should be able to feel the muscle working, but you should NOT feel exhausted after completing the exercise. In this phase, we are simply acquainting your body to new exercises to WAKE UP muscles that have been on VACATION for a LONG TIME!
If the resistive exercises take 10 minutes, reduce the cardio portion (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical, etc…) to 20 minutes (once you have gotten you cardio up to the 30 minute mark.) If you want to lengthen your routine, add 5 minutes to the cardio portion for one week. The following week add 5 minutes to the resistive portion.
The most important thing to do at this point is to keep the program short in duration to create a realistic habit and time-frame to exercise. Most people blame time for stopping. If you are in charge of time, you won’t make this excuse.
After doing this type of program for 3 months, it will be time to change things up to continue to gain new benefits from exercise. You will ALWAYS be in control of time, so any change you make should stay within a comfortable time-frame allotted for exercise.
RULES to live by:
Create specific days for exercising. DO NOT say to yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow instead.” How many times have you had an ice cream sundae in front of you and said, “Na, I’ll eat this delicious mouth watering dessert TOMORROW! If the ice cream can’t wait, the exercise can’t wait. It is more important to get through the routine on a day you don’t want to, than the quality of exercise performed. Like Nike says, “JUST DO IT!”
If getting healthy is the goal, DON’T COMPETE WITH YOURSELF! This means begin to feed your body what IT NEEDS; not what your brain might be suggesting. One method to help create a successful outcome is preparing a few meals ahead of time. This way you don’t have to rely on a brain you may feel is being controlled by “SATAN!” Having a few meals satisfies the need for CHOICE and provides good options WITHOUT thought.
Always remember the goal is BETTER HEALTH! We don’t have to worry how others view us, because the reality is we’re ALWAYS being judged. How can we combat these feelings? Simple! Would you rather be the skinny person that dies at 60 years of age or the healthy person capable of doing whatever you enjoy in life with the possibility of living a long life? That question should help overcome the fear of judgement.
Finally, get started today. You can create the rest of your schedule tomorrow if needed. Everyone has 5 minutes. This commitment to YOURSELF proves your SELF WORTH AND VALUE!