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BARRIER NO. 6:
I’M NOT ATHLETIC
Natural athletic ability isn’t a
prerequisite to physical activity.
Keep it simple. Try something basic,
such as a daily walk.
Start a team. Join up with friends who
are in the same boat. And have fun
while helping each other work out.
Forget the competition. Don’t worry
about becoming a superstar athlete
or joining the hard-bodied athletes at
the ftness club. Simply focus on the
positive changes you’re making to
your body and mind.
BARRIER NO. 7:
I’VE TRIED TO EXERCISE
IN THE PAST AND
FAILED
Don’t throw in the towel. You can’t see
it when you lower your cholesterol or
reduce your risk of diabetes, but that
doesn’t mean you aren’t doing yourself
a great favor. Re-evaluate what went
wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
Pace yourself. Start small and build up
to more-intense workouts later, when
your body is ready.
Set realistic goals. Don’t promise
yourself you’re going to work out
for an hour every day, and then
get down on yourself when you fall
short. Stick with goals you can more
easily achieve, such as exercising 20
minutes a day, three days a week for
the frst month.
Remember why you’re exercising.
Use your personal ftness goals as
motivation — and reward yourself as
you meet your goals.
BARRIER NO. 8:
I CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH
CLUB FEES
You don’t need a membership at an elite
gym to get a great workout. Consider
common-sense alternatives.
Do strengthening exercises at home.
Use inexpensive resistance bands -
lengths of elastic tubing that come
in varying strengths — in place of
weights. Lift plastic milk jugs partially
flled with water or sand. Do push-ups
or squats using your body weight.
Watch an exercise video. Try videos
on dance aerobics, cardio-kickboxing,
yoga or tai chi. For variety, trade
exercise videos with a friend.
Start a walking group. Round up
friends, neighbors or co-workers
for regular group walks. Plan routes
through your neighborhood or near
your workplace, along local parks and
trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
Take the stairs. Skip the elevator
when you can. Better yet, make
climbing stairs a workout in itself.
Try your community center. Exercise
classes offered through a local
recreation department or community
education group might ft your
budget better than an annual gym
membership.
BARRIER NO.9:
I’M AFRAID I’LL HURT
MYSELF IF I EXERCISE
If you’re nervous about injuring yourself,
start off on the right foot.
Take it slow. Start with a simple
walking program. As you become
more confdent in your abilities, add
new activities to your routine.
Try an exercise class for beginners.
You’ll learn the basics by starting
from scratch.
Get professional help. Get a ftness
tutorial from a certifed expert, who
can monitor your movements and
point you in the right direction. If
you’ve had a previous injury, you may
want to frst see a sports medicine
physician, who can evaluate you and
recommend specifc treatment, such
as physical therapy.
BARRIER NO. 10:
MY FAMILY DOESN’T
SUPPORT MY EFFORTS
Remind those close to you of the
benefts of regular exercise - and then
bring them along for the ride.
Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up
for a parent-child exercise class. Pack
a picnic lunch and take your family to
the park for a game of tag or kickball.
Splash with the kids in the pool
instead of watching from your chair.
Propose a new adventure. Instead
of suggesting a workout at the gym,
invite a friend to go to an indoor
climbing wall or rent a tandem
bicycle for the weekend.
Do double duty. Volunteer to drive
your teens to the mall, and then
walk laps inside while you wait for
the shoppers. Try the same trick at
your child’s school during lessons,
practices or rehearsals.
If necessary, have a heart-to-heart with
your loved ones. If they don’t share your
ftness ambitions, ask them to at least
respect your desire to get ft.
So are you Ready to start
a ftness program?
Measure your ftness level with a simple
four-part test. Then use the results to set
ftness goals and track your progress.
How ft are you? See
how you measure up
You probably have some idea of how ft
you are. But knowing the specifcs can
help you set realistic ftness goals,
monitor your progress and
maintain your motivation. Once you
know where you’re starting from, you
can plan where you want to go. And it’s
easier than you might think. Get started
with the simple four-step assessment
below -(based on guidelines provided
by the President’s Challenge, a program
designed by the President’s Council on
Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.)
Gather your tools
Generally, ftness is assessed in four key
areas - aerobic ftness, muscular ftness,
fexibility and body composition. To do
your assessment, you’ll need:
A watch that can measure seconds or
a stopwatch
A cloth measuring tape
A yardstick
Heavy-duty tape
Someone to help you with the
fexibility test
You’ll also need a pencil or pen and
paper to record your scores as you
Jan/Feb 2012
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