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Variety, being the spice of life, should also be the case when exercising. More exercise is better, right? “The more I do, the more I’ll lose!” Woah, that’s a risky attitude to take, not just to heart. You have to do a variety of exercises. Not just stretching, to increase your flexibility. Not just resistance training, to build up muscles and improve the strength capacities in your joints. Not just aerobic exercises to burn fat, boost your energy, and improve concentration. Although, if you’re motivated enough, you can do all those. In fact, you should be doing a little bit of each type.
Why are you taking up doing exercises now? Because your doctor told you to. Good enough reason. Lose weight, help reduce the risk of heart diseases, improve your posture, balance, body shape, appearance, even your sex appeal and drive. Committing to becoming more physically active requires research, planning, and preparation. The hardest thing, though, to get through initially will be your discomfort, especially since you’ve been stuck in the sedentary lifestyle for a long while. But you can do this. Ease into it at first.
Really. Just wait a minute. Don’t just dive in to the pool and expect to thrash around in the warm water in order to lose weight and look and feel better. First you have to assess where you are in terms of fitness level. You can’t just jump right back into the habit of exercising, especially if you haven’t “laced up the shoes” since high school. Nor can you just leap into action inspired by the 2012 Olympic athletes’ performances—you have to know what you’re capable of doing and establish some primary fitness goals. Then you can branch out into the other forms of exercises.
Exercises—are your friends doing them? Good. Research through them. Ask your friends lots of questions, not just about gym fees, what to wear, and the price of tennis shoes. Note which of your social networking friends are posting notices about the exercises they do. Ask them why. What benefits do they feel they get from bicycling, weightlifting, jogging, pilates, shadow boxing, yoga, dancing, dog walking? Visit your local library and browse through the books on physical training. Find what appeals to you.
One of the first exercises you should do is indeed the simplest—walk. Walk around your neighbourhood. Unplug the iPod and listen to the birds. Reconnect to nature where and when you can; this helps improve your mood as well; let the good smells of nature (fresh cut grass, wild flowers, trees) calm you. Being in a good mood keeps you motivated to do your exercises!
Start your walking with a goal of a short distance first and gradually increase your distance over time. After you become comfortable with your walking routine, spice it up! Find safe areas in your neighbourhood park where you can do stepping exercises, for example, a sturdy and low retaining wall. Find places where you can comfortably stretch, places where you can include arm exercises such as wall press ups. Build up your stamina enough to include carrying small hand weights.
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress. The effort of doing something good for yourself and your body increases your positive mood—so when you need to beat the blahs, just take half an hour and perform some of your favourite exercises!
Considering the quite wide menu of choices when it comes to exercises, how can you not find something that suits your personality, lifestyle, and schedule? But don’t force yourself to do too many; pace yourself. If you see the variety of exercising activities like a smorgasbord, yes, you can have seconds, thirds… just watch your portions! Consult with a physical trainer in addition to your doctor as well so that you have a helpful plan and a guide along the route to health.
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