After a long, lazy winter spent enjoying hot chocolate in front of the roaring fire, sunny days are here again and it’s time to get back outside and enjoy a taste of spring. You’re ready and eager to jog a few miles, bicycle across town, or hike the trails. But before you do, you need to prepare your body to go from couch potato to marathon runner. We are going to give you some tips on how to safely begin your exercise routine once again.
The Key is to Start Off Slow
After several months of holiday cookies, desserts and binge watching while curled up on the couch, it is less than realistic to believe you are going to run 10 miles on your first day out this spring. The “no pain, no gain” attitude isn’t a safe approach to take your first day or even week out. Even with the first warm days of spring calling your name, taking it slow means starting back at square one. If you have taken the winter off, start your spring training by walking for 10 minutes every day or every other day for a week. Then the next week, walk for 15 minutes. From there, work your way up by five-minute intervals each week to a 30 to 40-minute walk. This may be a lot slower than you want to go, but after about a month of conditioning, you’ll have built up enough endurance. You can then move forward with a more strenuous exercise program.
Create a Realistic Plan
We would all love to lose 10 pounds in one week or run three miles each morning, but realistically, these goals are too large to set at the beginning of a fitness plan and will set you up for failure. To achieve results that will last, try starting with small changes. Incorporating these changes into your diet and exercise regimen, consistently over time, will allow you to form healthy habits and stick with them.
Track Your Progress
Understanding what you’re eating and how you’re exercising are key ways to identify healthy and unhealthy habits. For the first week, track everything from your calorie intake to your distance traveled with a Garmin Vivofit 2 Bluetooth Fitness Band from Buydig.com. At the end of the week, recognize the unhealthy patterns and find ways to make them healthier. After one month, look at your first week and see how far you’ve come! Success will be your best motivation to keep going.
Set an End Goal
Motivation is the key to success. Finding healthy, effective ways to stay focused on your exercise plan is the best way to see results. Setting a goal like a best friend’s wedding, a vacation, or even just fitting into those too-tight shorts from last summer will keep you focused. Also, when getting started with an exercise program, consider your short, intermediate and long term exercise goals. A short-term goal may be to exercise three times a week for the first month and to improve your flexibility. Your intermediate goal may be to lift 10 more pounds on each machine next month. Your long-range goal may be reducing your risk of heart disease or diabetes, or to have more energy to play with your children or grandchildren. In setting goals, don’t get hung up on your weight and appearance. Don’t worry about your waistline, worry about your life. Don’t put so much emphasis on your weight, but consider how you feel.
Small Changes go a Long Way
Getting fit doesn’t have to mean changing your entire schedule, nor does it have to be difficult. Although it can seem overwhelming, even the smallest changes to your routine will help you tone up. Park further away or take a walk during your lunch break. Instead of heading straight to the weights at the gym, take a fun class like Zumba, kickboxing or a spin class. Plan an active night with friends instead of going out to dinner. Small yet effective changes will lead to the results you’ve always wanted and help you stay motivated.
Make it Fun
No matter how many strategies you use, you won’t get fit if you aren’t having fun. If you don’t enjoy traditional workouts, playing sports is a great way to get in your exercise for the day. With many gyms and studios offering inexpensive classes throughout the year, you can also try your skills at hip-hop dancing, yoga, kickboxing, and Pilates to spice up your workout plan. Music is a great way to make it over that last hill on the trail or make that 10-mile bike ride a little less mundane. Bring your iTunes playlist to life while working out with the legendary sound of the Klipsch Image S4i Headphones. The S4i II found exclusively at Buydig.com, comes with a three-button control and mic. This allows you to control the concert and your phone calls while walking, jogging or cycling.
Set mini goals for yourself along the way. Dropping 20 pounds or running a 10K can be intimidating. When you set mini goals, you make progress more attainable. Try to lose five pounds or run 30 minutes on the treadmill; then go from there. Accomplishing your goals keeps you moving forward and challenging yourself to meet even bigger ones in the future. When you meet these mini goals, celebrate your victories with healthy treats or by going out dancing instead of dining out. Instead of buying a new TV, buy a new elliptical.
Spring is all about new beginnings, so use these tips to shake off the cold and begin a new fitness program. Before you know it, you’ll be in the best shape of your life and ready to enjoy summer when it rolls around the corner.