This is the third part of a 3-part series, so I recommend reading these posts first:
I mentioned in my last post that I have always disliked exercise, but through this weight loss journey, I have learned to stay active to lose weight. But it wasn’t always this way…. My worst subject in school: P.E. When I had to run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes my freshman year of college, I thought I was going to flunk (but I made it – barely). I’ve tried different things over the years – running, sports, biking, an elliptical – but there was nothing that I really enjoy – except for walking. So, as I progressed in my weight loss journey, I wasn’t going to kill myself doing something that I didn’t like. I wanted my weight loss to be a lifestyle change, which means that it will last and that it has to be something that I will enjoy.
My exercise of choice was walking and I started small by just walking around the block. As I started to lose weight, gain endurance (and confidence), my walking increased from 1 mile – to 2 miles – 3 miles – 4 miles – and now 7 miles. I also found that I love hiking! This is good news living in AZ because there are so many wonderful hiking trails that the whole family can enjoy.Here’s the fun part – once I started gaining endurance, I started to crave fitness (yes, I actually said that!) and ventured to try new things like biking and using a rowing machine (my newest favorite).
Tip #1: Enjoy Your Activity
As you start to become more active in your lifestyle change to lose weight, choose an activity that you enjoy: biking, hiking, basketball, swimming, running, etc. The important part is that you enjoy what you are doing so that you will continue doing it. Introducing fitness, exercise, activity (or whatever you want to call it) into your lifestyle will not only help you lose weight, it will also help keep you healthy. There are plenty of published studies to prove this point so I don’t need to into depth here.
As you start adding fitness into your lifestyle, take small steps. If this is new for you, like it was for me, try 15 minutes a day at first and slowly start to increase. Have fun pushing yourself, but don’t over do it.
Tip #2: Stay Motivated with a Fitness Partner(s)
My new favorite “toy” is a Fitbit. I have the Fitbit Charge HR, so it tracks my steps, calories burned, the numbers of flights, sleep, and heart rate. I can see how active I am each day, set goals and keep track of my progress. An added bonus: you can create fun competitions with your friends who also have a Fitbit (or at least the app). These competitions with either yourself or your friends is such a huge motivator! I’m really not a competitive person, but I do enjoy a fun game, which is what it feels like. The great part is that I’m staying active while doing it!
The Fitbit app for a smartphone is actually free, so if you don’t want to invest in something but you want to start tracking your fitness levels, that is a great option. Plus, it allows you to check it out to see if you really like it before purchasing.
Fitness Tips for Beginners
- Set a goal for what you want to achieve (15 minutes a day or 5,000 steps, etc) and stick to it.
- Don’t over do it – keep your goals realistic so that you can meet them every day. If you need to just walk around the block, then do that. You can slowly increase those goals.
- Reward yourself! Here is the fun part, if you meet your goals for a week, reward yourself, but try to pick something NOT related to food.
- Look for a buddy that you can either exercise with or will at least help to keep you accountable.
- Start putting “fitness” into your daily routine: park farther away from the store entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the park instead of driving.
- If you have an off day, don’t beat yourself up. Start fresh the next day
- Drink plenty of water!
I am NO fitness or exercise professional. I am just an average woman, who has learned to love the outdoors and being active. My goal is to be healthy and I hope this journey I have taken on losing weight has helped to inspire you to be a healthier you, too.
Do you enjoy staying active? What are some of your favorite activities? What tips do you have for beginners?
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