by Trudy Despain
(last updated March 13, 2012)
If you have made the choice to become a health (or healthier) person, good for you! You will enjoy immediate as well as long term benefits! But now where do you start? Advice on the internet can be confusing, misleading, and sometimes just wrong. There are some basic steps that should be taken by any individual who wants to make the move toward good health.
First and foremost, you may want to consider a visit to your doctor. If you have lived a sedentary lifestyle for ten years and you suddenly shock your body with strenuous exercise you could do more harm than good. Your doctor will check any preexisting conditions and determine how exercise will affect them. Conditions like chronic knee pain, persistent headaches, diabetes or asthma (to name a few) are conditions that should be checked out by the doctor before starting an exercise regimen. Your doctor can be a great tool in telling you which exercises are best for certain conditions.
After your doctor clears you, it's time to assess your current fitness level. Getting an accurate measure of where you started from will give you motivation when the novelty of exercise wears off and the mental battles begin. Go out to the track and find out how long it takes you to walk or run a mile. See how many push-ups you can do before becoming fatigued. Check your resting heart rate. If possible, get a measurement of your body fat percentage. Some doctors have body fat calipers in their office and they can get the measurement for you when you go in for your physical exam. Also, take some measurements of your body. Measure your waist, hips, thighs and upper arms.
Finally, determine your fitness goals. Try to stay away from weight loss being your ultimate goal. Make it a by-product of actively participating in something you truly enjoy. If you once had a passion for basketball but life got in the way of playtime and you had to put it on the back burner, consider starting back up again with the goal of being able to participate in a full season with a club or city league. There are so many ways to get exercise and play at the same time. Don't get stuck thinking that you need to pound the tread mill and pump iron with the meatheads at the local gym.
The decision to dedicate yourself to a healthy lifestyle is one of the best choices you can make for yourself. Good health can help you avoid chronic illnesses, improve balance and coordination, and help you sleep better at night. Don't get overwhelmed by the advice all around you. A few simple steps will get you moving in the right direction.
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