“Getting Fit Shouldn’t Feel Like Getting Your Teeth Drilled,” says Women’s Fitness & Wellness Expert Mirabai Holland M.F.A. “The reason so many of us quit is we never learn to take pleasure in making exercise a part of our lives. We try to do too much too soon and we set ourselves up to fail. My Moving Free® Technique builds the joy of movement into getting and staying in shape. Easy Exercise Videos For Beginners, Boomers & Seniors empower you to get fit and live well. This is not exercise light. It’s exercise smart!”
I’ve been getting emails asking for advice on how to get on and stay on an exercise program. I get questions about commitment, pushing one’s limits, pain, and quick results. I go a little crazy because I’m at odds with a very vocal segment of my industry about how to get started on an exercise program. They’re sincere, well-educated trainers but I don’t think they remember what it felt like to be de-conditioned. They expect beginners to do too much too soon. I’m beginning to think that years of over-vigorous exercise dulls one’s sense of empathy
I’ve seen it time and time again: determined beginners pushing so hard and either getting hurt and quitting or just quitting because they couldn’t take it any more.
If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault. We’ve heard no pain no gain all our lives. We’ve watched contestants push themselves to the brink of disaster on television. We’re inundated with infomercial promises of big results in no time.
It’s enough to make anyone think “ I’ve got to beat myself senseless immediately so I can hurry up, get fit, have the body of my dreams and live happily ever-after.”
In my experience, that approach only works for a few stoic types and sets the rest of us up to fail.
Start with Easy Exercise
I believe in moderation, easing in, starting with a little and building up to a lot, staying in your comfort zone.
You may get to super-vigorous exercise eventually, or maybe you’ll like moderate exercise better. Fact is you can get most of the benefit exercise has to offer just by exercising moderately. Really.
Just so you know this isn’t some favorite rant of mine, there are people, scientists even, who actually agree with me. Here’s study conducted at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health
I think, the best way to get fit and make exercise a part of your life forever is to keep it pleasant. If you haven’t been exercising in a long time, don’t start lifting weights right away. Don’t try to jog or even walk for a half an hour right away.
Do something easy. Do something pleasant. If you enjoy it today you’ll want to get up and do it again tomorrow. It’s the pleasure principal. I believe in it. Here’s a study that believes it too If you enjoy it today you’ll want to get up and do it again tomorrow. It’s the pleasure principal. I believe in it. This study published in the Journal of Health Psychology believes it, too
So how DO you get started?
I suggest starting by standing up and doing about 5 minutes of gentle limbering movements. Do the same for a few days in a row. You may be surprised at how good this feels and what a wonderful state of mind these simple natural movements put you in. You may find yourself exercising longer than 5 minutes after a few days because you LIKE it. You may want to go for a little walk, then a brisk walk, then a half hour brisk walk.
Don’t rush it. It doesn’t matter if it takes a couple of weeks, or a couple of months.
Listen to you body. You’re on nobody’s schedule but your own.
Once you’re enjoying a half hour brisk walk most days of the week, try adding light weight training for your major muscle groups a couple of times a week. Increase the weight, number of reps and number of exercise days only when it feels too easy. Build up slowly to weight training about 3 days a week with a day off in between sessions. Remember to keep it pleasant. If it’s too intense, it ceases to be fun and there’s a good chance you’ll quit.
This approach takes longer. But it works, and I’ve found it to be much more sustainable than those quick fix pump you up methods.
Those intense emersion exercise programs remind me of the guy who beats his head against a brick wall. When asked why on earth he does that, he says: “because it feels so good when I stop”