“I’m going to get fit. Now what?” Many of us run smack into that question when we’re on the front end of putting an exercise routine into our lives. Having an idea of what we want to accomplish and why we want to accomplish it (setting realistic goals) are two of the best things we can do for ourselves. Getting clear on where we are and where we want to go requires us to take the next steps to get fit. We need to make sure adding a fitness routine in the safest and most efficient way is actually something that is in our best interests to do for ourselves.

Steps To Get Fit

get fitAssess Physical Condition

First, we have to find out if we are able to exercise and get fit. Health conditions or risk factors, for example, high blood pressure, which has no warning signs, may impact our ability to exercise. Walking may seem like a pretty harmless activity for anyone, but if unhealthy hip, knee, or ankle joints, or brittle bones are added to the equation, the situation can change dramatically. Throw in an uneven or hard walking surface and an activity that seemed harmless is now fraught with peril.

A physical assessment, one that a physician ideally conducts, helps to clearly outline what we can and cannot do and in what order and when we can increase intensity, frequency, and duration of exercises. This directly impacts our goals, which we may need to adjust, based on physical assessment findings.

Assess Mental Condition

A safety issue not often acknowledged is that we have to be mentally and emotionally ready to exercise/work out as well as being physically well enough to exert ourselves. Buddhism’s “Middle Way” is a philosophical expression of not going to extremes in any aspect of life. Committing yourself to get fit is one thing, obsession is another. The first is healthy, the other is not. Being able to deal with what life tosses at us in a healthy way is a matter of mental and emotional flexibility more than anything else.

Set Goals

Questions we need to answer before jumping into our program: a realistic timeframe to achieve goals; is our goal at the wellness level, fitness level, or is it sports-specific (for example, being able to walk a mile without tiring vs walking or running a 5K vs being able to run a marathon)? Answers and guidelines usually follow from the physical assessment. Add eating/nutritional goals, an injury plan, and we have a well-rounded picture of what our program entails.

Decide on Workout Venue(s) and Needed Equipment

This includes clothes and shoes. If we’re going to be walking the neighborhood, we may only need the right kind of walking shoes. On the other hand, if we’re embarking on a gym or swimming program, we need to make sure we have the appropriate workout clothes, swimsuit, shoes, and so on, for the facility we plan to use.

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