Why is increasing activity such a vital part of a weight loss program? While many people assume that the value of exercise is to help weight loss, its role in weight maintenance and overall wellbeing far overshadow its weight loss role. Staying active is about being healthy, as much as it is about weight maintenance. For some, the hardest part of an exercise program is figuring out how to get started. Here is an outline to help you get over the startup hurdle.
How Fit are You?
Starting too fast will lead to disappointment and failure. Assessing your baseline abilities helps you grow into a practical fitness plan and prevents those stops and starts.
- Walk a mile, taking your pulse at both the beginning and end. This gives you an idea of how hard your heart works to go that mile. If a mile is too far, settle for half that distance.
- Time your walk to see what pace is comfortable for you.
- Attempt to do a push up – How many do you do?
These are good starters to give you an idea of what you can do and help you set obtainable goals. If walking a mile is an effort, then jogging five miles your first time out is not practical.
You also want to measure your waist circumference and calculate your body mass index. These are numbers you will be checking along the way to record your progress.
Develop a Plan
Sit down and write out a fitness plan. The more effort you put into creating the plan, the better. Be specific about what you want to accomplish and how you intend to get there. Just saying I’ll exercise every day is not really going far enough. What kind of exercise are you going to do? What days of the week will you work out? What is your day off? The details matter when defining your goals. Take your plan with you to your next medical weight loss consult and discuss with your doctor or dietitian for helpful insights.
Find non-food ways to reward your effort. For example, if you make it through your first week doing all the workouts, then spend your day off enjoying a massage or watching a movie.
Walk Your Way to Success
There are going to be days that you don’t feel like hitting the gym or taking a step class. On those days, it’s okay to take a long walk instead. Wear a pedometer to give you extra motivation.
The point is to find what works for you and stick with it. Once you create a sustainable plan, it will help you maintain the weigh you lose during your weight loss program.