Just Start Getting More Fitness

I frequently post on social media about the joy I feel after tough workouts. The kind of sessions that include weight-lifting with actual barbells loaded with heavy plates. And in which you do pull-ups. And push-ups. Go for long runs. Jump rope like a boxer.

Posting this stuff on Facebook ends up giving you a reputation among your friends and colleagues as a Fitness Jock (ette).

Which I am.

Not because I am an expert or a trainer (which I’m not).

But because I’m a huge fan of, and believer-in, in the power of exercise to change our lives.

And in this brand new year, I’m especially wanting to pass that belief and enthusiasm along–and especially to those of us who haven’t done much of it lately or feel like maybe we can’t, or that we might let ourselves down (again) when we try.

The most important thing?

Just start.

It doesn’t have to be at CrossFit classes or at a yoga studio or even at a gym.

You certainly can join in those things. They’re terrific. And especially if anything about these kinds of places and activities–the challenges, the group activities, the structuredness of classes and instructors and plans, the accountability of signing up and paying cash–helps to excite and motivate you, go for it!

But you don’t have to.

You can just walk out your door and start logging more steps.

The whole starting point, and point of starting, is to add in a little bit more movement.

And if it works with your health, to add in more weight-bearing movement.

And if you’re already into it, think about adding a little more. Another day of working out per week. Or more minutes or weights to the days you’re already working out. Mixing things up by trying a different kind of exercise or class than what you’ve already been doing.

Along with starting, it’s also critical to gauge what’s going to be sustainable. How many days a week are you going to be able–schedule-wise, commitment-wise, burnout-wise–to do this new walking time? New yoga classes? Nights at the gym after work?

The point is to add something into our lives that we will actually keep up. Because it is from the time and effort we put in over time that we grow what we gain in exercise. Things like more energy, better sleep, less mood fluctuation, increase in strength and flexibility and balance and endurance, weight loss, more muscle, better bone density, benefits to almost all body systems. And, maybe the best-feeling of all: the increased confidence and self-esteem that come from making those gains . . . and from honoring and respecting ourselves by sticking to our exercise plans in the first place.

If you have any concerns, talk to your health care team before starting. Then start. By yourself or with a buddy. In classes or outside of them. With a plan that’ll be sustainable. And with the joy of gaining all along the way the benefits you’re giving yourself in the moment, and that you’re building into your life long-term.  end