Gateway Region YMCA
Originally published in the August 2019 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
You went through all the reasons you need to exercise (more energy, lose a few pounds, keep up with the kids, etc.) and have finally decided you are going to start exercising. So, you put on your new gym shirt and shoes and suddenly it hits you: "What do I do? How do I know if what I plan on doing will help me with my particular reason for starting this?"
We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. Between the internet, infomercials, family and friends, ideas are coming from every direction to offer advice on what is best for you. You may find yourself surrounded by answers, yet you have even more questions.
So what is a beginner to do? Just keep it simple.
Here are a few things to help you get started on the right track:
1. Slow is Good. Start out slowly with something comfortable. How about walking? Strap on your shoes and plan a 20-minute walk. All you have to do is march out the door for 10 minutes, then turn around and head back. Success.
2. Make a Plan. Write down on your calendar exactly when you are going to get your activity in this week and stick to it. Treat it like an appointment with yourself and take it very seriously.
3. Recruit an Accountability Partner. Ever heard of the buddy system? It works. Announce to a friend or family member what your intentions are so they can help you stay motivated and check on your progress. Knowing that your buddy will be asking about how your progress is going is extra incentive to stay on track.
4. Start Diet Changes. Make one small change to your diet and stick with it for two days in a row. Switch soda for water, swap your cookies at lunch with a piece of fruit. Try it for 48 hours; if you find it is something you can continue, make another small change each week.
5. Do Not Expect Perfection. No one has a perfect diet. Everyone misses a workout here and there. If you make good choices 80 percent of the time, understand that it is OK to be flexible with the other 20 percent. The worst thing you can do is adopt the "all or none" mentality and completely give up. Whether it is an ice cream on a hot day or a day when you just do not get the workout in, understand that it is only one thing and get right back on track.
Trying some or all of these things will help you on your track to success. Good luck.