What’s the Best Exercise Program For Me?

Many people want to get healthy and get in shape, but they don’t know where to even start. With summer here and a lot of us getting ready for “Swimsuit Season”, it seems that we have found a little extra motivation to shed a few pounds and look our best.

Several times a week I get asked what someone should do to start getting in shape. My answer tends to be the same: Just find something you enjoy doing and start doing it more often!

If you aren’t sure what kind of activities you enjoy, I will go through a few things to help you take the first step in your journey.

1. You don’t have to join a gym

When a lot of people think of exercise, this is what comes to mind:

(Busy gyms full of people that look like they know exactly what they are doing)

I have heard many times that someone won’t exercise because they think you have to you a gym to do so. They just don’t like the idea of going to a gym, or they have joined a gym in the past and did not have a good experience. Guess what? You DO NOT have to join a busy gym to improve your health if that’s not something you are comfortable with. Someone once told me, “I don’t like people watching me at the gym.” Rest assured that most people are not going there to watch you exercise. They are too busy doing their own exercises to worry about you, and if they are watching you, then you just keep on doing what you’re doing because we should never let the fear of being judged by people that don’t matter get in the way of us improving our lives!

With that being said, if you are really not a gym person or simply don’t have the time, there are unlimited things you can do to start exercising. The easiest place to start is by just going for a walk. Going for a brisk walk in the morning or evening is a great way to incorporate some movement into your day and burn calories. You want to make sure that you are walking at a pace that elevates your heart rate and try to add a larger arm swing to involve more muscle groups.

Other things that you can do around your home that you may not consider exercises are: gardening, mowing the lawn (with a push mower), weedeating, vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, and the list goes on. Anything that we can do in our day that uses our muscles and elevates our heart rate can be considered exercise.

2. You don’t have to do a form of exercise just because that is what a friend does

If you don’t enjoy doing something you will not stick with it. Just because your sister or best friend loves running, that doesn’t mean that you will. I have patients tell me how much they love their elliptical and will go for 45 minutes in the mornings before work on it. That is wonderful and I fully encourage them to continue. Personally, I would rather watch paint dry than spend 45 minutes on an elliptical and that is exactly why I don’t do long cardio sessions on machines! This is the beauty of exercise. There are so many options out there that there is bound to be at least one thing that we can find that we would at least somewhat enjoy enough to do it a few times a week. There is no “one thing” that is the absolute exercise.

3. Find a friend or someone to hold you accountable

It is easy to talk yourself out of something. Having an accountability partner can improve our chances of following through on our promises to ourselves. Find someone that exercises or wants to start and have them join you. You can encourage each other along the way and do it together or just let them know your plans and check in with you to see that you are completing what you set out to do.

If you don’t have a friend to join in with you a few options you could try are finding a gym or recreation center that offers group training classes or find a trainer to help guide and design an exercise program for you. Group fitness classes are a great way to improve your motivation and meet new friends that may feel just like you do about starting to exercise. Trainers’ jobs are to help you improve your health and well being. They take all the hard work of thinking about what exercises you should be doing, how many times, and how often you should do something out of it, and allow you to just focus on showing up and working hard. They can help to hold you accountable and keep you on the right track.

So, that is it. 3 simple tips to help get you started. Don’t think you have to know all of the answers before you start. Simply get out there and start moving!

If you have any questions, we would love to talk with you or perform an assessment to keep you doing the things you love.

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Ashley Hornsby, MPT