A new year brings the promise of fresh beginnings and is a great time to start improving your fitness.
Whatever your age, weight or level of fitness, everyone can enjoy the benefits of exercise. In fact the benefits start from the moment you take that first step.
Your cardiovascular health, the beating of your heart and how well your blood circulates around your body, is strengthened through exercise. Your blood carries oxygen from the air you breathe and nutrients from the food you eat to all the cells that make up your organs including your brain, liver and skin.
So get that blood flowing – go for a walk, take the dog for a run, do the housework – in fact anything that increases your heart rate can be classed as exercise.
The noticeable benefits you’ll enjoy include healthier, more glowing skin, less stress, clearer thinking and a better sense of wellbeing. Sound good? Well, to really get all the benefits, remember that you need to maintain a regular exercise program.
Most people who don’t get enough exercise usually say it’s because they don’t have enough time. But it is really a question of how important good health is to you. When you think about it, if you have to manage a problem brought about by bad health, it is not only going to take up more time than exercising but it may also get in the way of you doing other things you need to do or enjoy doing.
So this New Year why not resolve to make time to include exercise into your every day life? Just three exercise sessions of 40 minutes a week will make a vast difference and most people can get to this level of fitness within a few weeks.
It’s important if you haven’t exercised for a while to start slowly and consult your doctor, who might also have some ideas on what sort of exercise is right for you.
Start by walking for ten minutes a day and gradually increase this to 40 minutes a day. As you get fitter you might also want to walk faster or start to jog or run. To help keep you on track with your fitness goals why not also ask a friend or family member to exercise with you.
Remember – exercise should be fun. Some people love team sports, some love the social atmosphere of a gym and some prefer to exercise at home by doing some stretching or push ups and sit ups in the living room. Exercise doesn’t need to be brutal – dancing, yoga and tai chi are all gentle forms of exercise with great benefits.
Many people scoff at the idea of New Year’s Resolutions but the trick is to be realistic. You can’t start an exercise program at 10 minutes past midnight if you are celebrating with your friends. Even January 1st might not be a good idea.
So the first step is to pick a date, as early as possible in the New Year, to start your fitness program and know what you are going to do on that date. “I am going to go for a walk/run in the morning on January 2 for ten minutes,” might be the way to start.
Remember the saying “the longest journey starts with but a single step”. Who knows where your fitness journey may take you once you start putting one foot in front of the other. So go on – get moving!