Thinking of beginning an exercise program? Ready to start working out? There are a few things you’ll need before you can get started. Here’s a list:
• Good health and/or a doctor’s approval. Nearly all of us can exercise, but some of us need to check with a doctor to see if there are any limitations to our exercise program.
• Reasonable nutrition. Nobody’s going to last long in an exercise program if his or her diet is Twinkie-based. You need carbohydrates, protein and fats in the right proportions, and enough calories to keep you going.
• Enough rest. Exercise is not a good substitute for sleep. Exercise might help you sleep better, but you won’t be able to keep it up if you are chronically dragging because you don’t get enough sleep.
• A plan. Even if your plan is just to get out of your chair and go walk around the block, you won’t do it until you plan it.
• Goals. Why do you want to exercise? Okay, that’s a big question to help you set overall goals, but you need little goals, too. Such as a goal to walk around the block before dinner.
• Motivation. Most of us need something to motivate us and keep us working out, especially in the beginning. Do you need a reward? (Like, no dinner unless you go for a walk first?) An exercise partner? A journal or log so you can keep track of your workouts? Find the things that motivate you and help keep you on course, and use them.
• Comfortable clothes. Wear clothes that don’t chafe or bind, aren’t too tight or loose, and that you are comfortable in. They should also be appropriate for the weather and the activity you are performing.
• Protection. There’s some risk to almost any activity. If you’re walking outside, you may need protection from the cold or the sun. If you’re walking at night, you should wear light colored clothing, maybe with reflective strips and may want to carry a flashlight and walk with a big dog. If you’re rollerblading, you need a helmet and pads. Whatever activity you are engaged in, use the appropriate protective gear. It’s hard to keep working out when you’re in traction.
• The right gear. Different activities require different equipment. Make sure the gear and exercise equipment you use is good quality, fits well and is in good repair.
• The right shoes. If you can only buy one piece of exercise equipment, make it a good, comfortable pair of shoes. Get the right shoes for the sport or activity you are engaged in and make sure they fit right. You don’t want blisters and sore spots on your feet. Be picky about your workout shoes; they’re the most valuable piece of equipment you will own.
• An excuse receptacle. A place to put your excuses—a round file—a trash can. Because you don’t have any real reasons anymore not to work out—all you have is excuses. You have everything you need, so get moving.
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