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Falling into Fitness

Things I've learned...

A woman's legs in athletic gear runs close to the lens on a leaf covered path through the woods in fall

Fall is a great time of year to start an exercise program. The air is cool and the changing of the seasons keep you entertained.

Achieving personal fitness should be a top goal for everyone. Four years ago I began my journey to fitness. I didn’t join a fancy gym or cross fit, I did it the old school way–just did it!

Many people are overwhelmed when they decide to begin a fitness program because they have no experience trying to increase their fitness level. It is tough to find out what works for you. The tips below may help you build and continue a fitness program that works for you.

a cyclist's silhouette rides up a forest path at sunrise

Fitness is a lifelong pursuit, and you should build your fitness plan slowly and carefully so that it will be sustainable. Choose exercises and activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle. Be sure to incorporate different forms of exercise into your workout as you age, this way you can gracefully and appropriately transition your workout. For me, bike riding, running and hiking work best.

Make sure that you drink a minimum of six glasses of water each day to insure that your body stays properly hydrated. You should also drink an additional water for every workout that you perform. You don't want to risk your body becoming dehydrated. It’s the fastest way to get a headache and feel overly tired after exercise.

Some exercises are designed to burn fat. Some build lean muscle. Some are best for those trying to build bulkier muscle. Be aware of what the exercises you are doing focus on and what you’ll get out of it.

A little boy and his dad walk hand in hand through the woods with coats and napsacks

Make sure that you keep your workouts under an hour. My doctor friend tells me that after about 60 minutes, your body starts to products more of the stress hormone called Cortisol, which can cause you to waste away your muscles–you need muscle to burn fat. Make sure that you maximize your workout and do not waste your time with excessive workouts.

I’ve found that running is the one of the best ways to get fit. There is a simple formula you can follow regarding the speed and pace of your run. Start out slowly, then in the middle increase speed, then at the end run as fast as you can. Lastly, walk to cool down.

Never let weather be an excuse for not getting exercise. Get a rain jacket instead.

After several weeks of sticking to the regimen that you created, pick up the pace. This will increase the desire that you have and also improve your overall results. It is always better to give yourself a challenge, especially if you are trying to elevate your strength.

A young girl with her hair tucked into her coat and helmet leans on her bike's handle bars and grins big

Do not let inexperience or fear to keep you from starting a fitness program. Do not become overwhelmed trying to do too much at once. Make fitness part of your life and you will increase your overall health. And remember to visit your doctor before you start any exercise program. This will take the fear out of starting.

Good luck and get out there.


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