New Year's Resolution: Get Fit
Resolved to exercise and get in shape? Here's how to actually do it.
Because bodies are living, breathing matter, they need to be stimulated in
order to become more fit. This means exercise is ideally done just outside your
comfort zone. "You're taking your body a little outside where it is,
because it needs that challenge - that stimulus - to be able to improve,"
If that is basically what exercise is, then you as an average Joe or Jane
should be able to "just do it," and be on your way to a healthy,
well-toned body, right? Perhaps. But as many people know all too well, it's not
that easy to start a fitness routine, particularly for the out-of-shape and the
inconsistent. There's the workout to begin, and the diet to plan, too.
To avoid overwhelming yourself, set realistic expectations, says Marilyn
Tanner, RD, co-creator of the Head to Toe program at the St. Louis Children's
Hospital and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Assess where you are now, and then break it into achievable goals,"
says Tanner, noting how important it is to limit the number of resolutions.
Stick to one small physical activity goal and to one small nutrition goal, and
keep a reserve list of objectives, she says. Once you have accomplished your
primary goals, move on to the next set.
How does one go about choosing an appropriate fitness program? Different
things work for different people. Fortunately, there are more than enough
Starting to Make Healthy Choices
When fitness clients ask, "Which machine is the best for cardiovascular
training?" Ross usually answers, "The one that you hate the
Exercise does not have to be dull. Yet as people grow up, they lose the
connection between fun and movement, says Ross. He suggests thinking about the
kind of person you are and what you like to do. Some people may love going to
the gym while others prefer to play team sports. Still others favor jogging or
walking around the neighborhood.
"It really doesn't matter what you do, if it's running up and down the
stairs in your house, if it's sitting up and down in a chair 20 times, or
running around the yard, or running around the treadmill, all (cardiovascular)
exercise has to be is something that increases the demand for oxygen," says
Ross. "If you are asking your body to use oxygen more rapidly, that is by
very definition, cardiovascular training."