An Important component of Weight Loss and Health is Exercise.
Following are some helpful tips to get started:
1. First, get a realistic picture of your health and fitness levels.
Even if your weight falls into the normal range, you may need to improve your fitness levels and dietary habits.
- Calculate your Body Mass Index here
- Take a home self-fitness test here or here
- Get a physical exam
- Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels measured
- Ask yourself if you feel healthy. In what ways are you satisfied with your health, in what ways would you like to improve?
2. Start slowly and set easy goals.
Make one larger goal comprised of baby steps. Set yourself up for success, not failure.
For example, in my twenties I decided to start running. Although I was of normal weight, I was sorely out of shape. Running hurt. I had very little endurance, and it was hard to breathe. No fun at all, really. I set a goal to be able to run two miles in one stretch. I gave myself three months time to get to that level of fitness. The first day I ran just 75 feet. And I was done for the day. It was painless, easy, and I did it. It felt good to my sense of accomplishment. I increased my running distance by only 75 feet each day. By the end of the summer, I easily ran two miles. It was amazing! It was easy! I never thought I could do it! And by the end of the next summer, I ran a marathon!
The point is I made the steps so easy that, as long as I followed through each day, I couldn’t fail.
3. Choose a reasonable exercise you enjoy
It really doesn’t matter what you choose, just get yourself started with a reasonable goal that will be easy to accomplish. Be realistic. If your local gym is crowded and it’s difficult to find parking, making the whole thing a pain in the butt, chose something else like walking around your neighborhood. You want to set yourself up for success, not failure, so be honest about what will really work for you.
Are you someone who can afford a gym membership? Can you make time to get there every day? Do you feel comfortable in the gym environment? Do you like to swim? Ride your bike? Go walking? Do yoga?
4. Get an exercise buddy (or take a class)!
A good exercise buddy makes working out fun. They are usually someone who lives or works close by to you, in relatively similar physical shape to you. You enjoy their company and can help motivate each other.
If you don’t have an exercise buddy yet, get started on your own exercise plan and keep looking and asking around. You might even go online to find an exercise buddy who lives right in your neighborhood. Having an exercise buddy can make exercising much more fun and get you out there on days when you’d much rather be a couch potato.
Other ways to make exercise more fun (and to have the support of other people) are to join a team sport or take an exercise class. Local community centers often offer inexpensive classes at a variety of levels.
5. Move throughout the day.
Every little bit of movement helps. If you sit all day, set a reminder to at minimum just stand up every fifteen minutes, or walk around the office, do a stretch, or get a standing workstation. If you work at home, schedule chores throughout the day so you don’t have extended periods of time sitting.
Develop other habits to get you moving. Park in the furthest spot from the front door of the store. Start riding your bike instead of driving. Walk your dog. Plant a garden. Dance in your kitchen at odd moments. Take the stairs. Go visit a neighbor. Clean out your garage. Volunteer to walk dogs at the animal shelter. The opportunities are endless.
Don’t Fall Prey to Sitting Disease
Research shows that even if you get an hour of exercise a day, but spend the rest of the day sitting, you are still at risk for the many ailments (diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, reduced longevity, etc.) of what is now called “Sitting Disease.” Check out the facts at www.juststand.org. Biologically, we are just not designed to withstand long periods of sitting.
6. Invest in an Activity Tracker.
Activity Trackers are wearable devices that measure your number of steps, your active minutes, sleep quality, and calories expended, and can be synced with calories consumed. They can be fun. Activity Trackers help to raise awareness of the actual exercise you are (or are not) getting and also raise awareness of your food choices.
One study found those who wore pedometers increased walking by 16% after wearing an activity tracker. Growing evidence shows that almost all of those who wear an activity tracker do indeed tend to increase activity.
7. Get Acupuncture for Aches and Pains
One reason people don’t exercise is that they have injuries that limit their movements. Solutions are to either chose activities that don’t exacerbate the injury, or –even better — to get treatment to resolve the injury and decrease or eliminate that limitation.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can help to manage aches and pains, increase your energy, and get you moving again!
A Cautionary Tale-
Start slowly. Check with your doctor to ensure you will be able to undertake your fitness plans. Set yourself up for success and don’t try to take on too much too soon. Unless you are in the shape to handle it, you don’t want to sign up for Boot Camp at the gym, only to get so sore you can’t move for a week and give up.
Make a commitment to yourself. Take baby steps. Even baby steps are movement!
Crow Heart Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs is located in the Rockridge area of Oakland at 66th and Telegraph.
To make an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-919-5689.
Treatments are gentle, affordable, and effective!