Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Start an Exercise Program, Really.

With all the exercise programs on the market today, it's hard to figure out why a large percentage of the population is considered overweight or even obese. So the question remains, do any of them work? There's probably never going to be one straight answer to that question though, because some will swear by their methods while others will use the word "gimmick". For the majority of people the point of exercise is to get healthy, or to control weight. So no matter the best product on the market, if you don't use it, you won't lose it!!

So where does one begin a program that will work and will last? After all, it must be maintained in order to serve your purpose. Exercise is not something you can do for awhile, then be done with it. The benefits only last if the movement does!

Most experts will tell you to just pick something you like and then stick with it. But if you're just starting out, how do you know what you will like? You may feel like you could pour out countless dollars on a bunch of stuff and never find the right thing. It might be so overwhelming, that you just may not want to bother!

It's that point, where a negative attachment forms toward exercise. Now it just seems like too much! This is the point that becomes very important to focus on. You must put a positive attachment to your exercise regimen if you have any shot at keeping it up.

To even begin to get comfortable in any exercise program, you have to first get comfortable with moving! So before you start looking at videos or machines to instruct you and aid you, just start moving your body. The best "piece of equipment" for this stage is an audio player! Music. A stereo, a CD player or an mp3 player. Just put on some music and move your body. Right now you don't have to be "choreographed" to get a workout. That can come later. Find music with a good beat, that inspires you. Maybe something that you used to listen to in your younger days. It might bring back a good memory, and you could find yourself smiling! Now you've associated that positive attachment. Now you're moving, and smiling, and thinking about how silly you may look, and now you're laughing!! The endorphins are starting to kick in and you're actually getting a real good feeling. Exercise you see is the best mood enhancer out there today! You can't buy it, or market it, it's free! And legal!

There are things to know and guidelines to follow for an exercise program. In order to stay safe and avoid injury. You can and will have to learn things like that in good time, but you just don't need the "no pain, no gain" scenario yet. You just want to get comfortable with moving. You must get comfortable with your body. Yes, your body. So if you're not a big fan of your body, it's time to start embracing it anyway. That's right, you must be "buddies" with your body. Pay attention to it while you're moving it. The quickest way to lose and tone is to work you largest muscle groups first. So focus on your "core". Your abdomen and your back. Always trying to keep it tight and straight. Once you develop this area, your posture will improve and if you have minor back pain you may find some relief. (People diagnosed with back conditions should consult a specialist) But if you can generally dance at a function or special occasion, then you can start an exercise program! The other muscle group is the legs. The large leg muscles are like a power booster for your movement. Large muscles kick start your metabolism which will make the movement more effective! Focus on those legs while your moving them. Bend them, lift them to your sides, kick or tap them to the front or the side (always keeping a slight bend at the knee). Concentrate on the fronts of them (the "quads"). Feel how they are responding to your "movement", then focus on the backs of them (the hamstrings) and feel their movement during the exercise. Picture them in your mind, picture how you want them to look. Feel them beginning to look that way as you move them. Later on there will be time to focus on how many "reps" and how may "sets" and things like that. A strategic set of movements will get you to your goals quickly and evenly, but it is not necessary to get started. It begins with just getting comfortable MOVING, and tuning in to your body! Everyone can do it.

Music is such a big motivator. Maybe the music on those exercise DVD's is not your "cup of Tea". That could be enough to help you lose motivation and give you that excuse to quit. So don't forget to pay attention to your mind too. Find the music that inspires you and makes you want to move, and keep finding more. Use lots of variety, old favorites, new favorites, different genres, try some belly dancing moves to some Latin tunes. Make up your own line dance to country, kick and punch to rock and roll, whatever you like. You name it. The possibilities can be endless. And before you know it, you may just be confident enough to go join a gym, or commit to tennis with your neighbor. The confidence you'll gradually gain (and the weight you will start to lose) will be the motivator you need to change and customize. Keep in mind that muscle is denser than fat, so if you're a scale watcher, try not to be. A small weight gain may show up if you're working a lot of big muscle groups, but even with that weight gain, you're appearance and shape will still be changing and will probably look better than before. (Note* it is hard for someone to see their own bodies changing, remember that). If you feel like you don't see changes, pay attention to what your friends, co-workers and loved ones may tell you. They might not be complimenting you just to "be nice", they may really be seeing the difference. And more than likely they will see it before you see it on yourself. Then take those compliments and fuel yourself to the next level. Kick it up a step.

So the way to start and continue an exercise plan for life, is to create your own starter workout, you can't get any more "customized" than that! Then you can start to investigate everything "out there" and find the thing or things that will work for your lifestyle!

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