The starting line


From marathon-running weekend warriors to the beginner yogi, we are all at different places on our fitness journey. But what if you’re just getting started, or you stepped away from the gym for several years and recently decided to rekindle a cherished sweaty pastime? Not to worry. Shawn Richardville, team leader, Parkview Health and Fitness Center, has 8 simple suggestions to get you back in the swing of things.

8 Strategies for Beginning and Sustaining a Fitness Journey

1. Set your frame of mind.
Exercise is just as much of a mental game as it is physical. Commit to the idea that including exercise in your weekly routine will just become a regular way of life for you.

2. Set goals.
Since half of exercise is a mental challenge, you need to create mental motivation toward being physically active. For example: Strive to lower blood pressure, cholesterol or body fat percentage, or sign up to participate in  a physical activity or event, like a tournament for your favorite sport or a 5K walk/run.

3. Plan your exercise week.
Have in mind what you are going to do each day between cardio days, weight-lifting days, and combination days. Schedule your workouts like appointments. This way you’re making time instead of trying to find time.

4. Get measurements.
It’s nice to see evidence that your work is paying off, so you need data to compare to later. It might be simply just taking body circumference measurements or figuring body fat percent. Maybe it’s more physical, like completing cardiovascular and/or strength tests, or timing a walk/run.

5. Start slow.
You need to let your body adapt physically to exercise as well as mentally. To help avoid injury and/or mental burnout, strive for three times a week for the first few weeks. You can then build to more days per week.

6. Find a partner or group.
It’s easier to stick to an exercise routine if it involves others that may depend on you to show up.

7. Find fun activities.
Getting your heart rate up by participating in physical games or sports is a great way to burn some calories.

8. Track progress.
Write down what you are doing each workout. This will help you plan ahead, as well as keep pushing you to do more. Wearing a device that keeps track of your movement can help bring awareness to your activity level.