Starting a fitness program might be one of the best things you can do to protect your health as physical activity can help you lose weight, improve your balance and coordination, reduce your risk of chronic disease, even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem, and more. There are five steps for you to follow to start your own fitness program.
1. Assess your fitness level
Although you might have some idea of how fit you are, assessing and recording fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. To assess your fitness, flexibility, and body composition, you should record:
- Your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile or 400 meters.
- How long it takes you to walk 1 mile or 400 meters, or how long it takes you to run 1.5 miles or 2.41 kilometers.
- How many half situps, modified pushups, or standard pushups you can do at a time.
- How far you can reach forward as you seated on the floor with your legs in front of you.
- Your body mass index.
- Your waist circumference above your hipbones.
2. Design your fitness program
It is easy to say that you will exercise every day. But you will need a plan. When you design your fitness program, keep in mind these points:
- Consider your fitness goals. Do you start a fitness program in order to lose weight or do you have another motivation like preparing for a marathon? Having clear goals will help you gauge your progress and keep motivated.
- Create a balanced routine. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
- Start low and progress slowly. If you’re just beginning to fitness exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly.
- Plan to include different activities. Different activities can keep exercise boredom at bay. Alternate among activities to emphasize different parts of your body, such as swimming, walking, and strength training.
- Allow time for recovery. Plan time between sessions so that your body can rest and recover.
- Put it on paper. A written plan might encourage you to stay on track.