Finding what works for you
When you have decided that you want to get fit, you will want to plan a physical activity routine. Although most people think of classes and specific activities (such as jogging or tennis) as the way to fitness, there are many ways you can work physical activity into your life.
One Woman's Story:
"I realized that I had put myself on the back burner for too long and it was time for me to make time for myself, even if it was just a few minutes a day. I wrote myself a note and taped it to my bathroom mirror. It said, 'I will take a 10-minute walk during my morning coffee break every day this week.' " —Shellie
Fitness classes or groups provide a consistent approach to an activity. Local gyms, schools, and churches may sponsor a regular fitness group. Teams also provide a consistent approach to fitness but are more competitive. Many communities have physical activity programs to help adults and children get fit. They often are found within social agencies and schools.
Structured fitness has the advantage of:
- Being held at the same time and place, which may be easier for some people to schedule.
- Having a social atmosphere.
- Providing support and "healthy" peer pressure to show up and participate.
- Sometimes being led by a certified fitness professional.
Many people find an activity they enjoy, and then they create their own fitness program. Self-directed fitness gives you:
- Flexibility as to the time and place.
- The ability to try different types of exercises.
For this to be effective, you must set up a regular schedule and stay with it.
Fitness within your day
You can use "everyday" activities for fitness, as long as you do them regularly. This includes:
- Daily aerobic activity, such as raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or doing housework.
- Muscle-building exercises, such as scrubbing the bathtub, washing walls, tilling the garden, or pulling weeds.
- An outdoor interest or hobby that promotes walking or another type of exercise. For example, bird watching may require a lot of walking, and trail building may require both walking and strength to clear paths.