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How to Make the First Steps in Joining an Exercise Program.

“I’d like to start exercising, but where do I begin?”

Making the personal decision to begin exercise is the first step. Committing to make it a priority in your life is the next.

Often, the biggest challenge you will face is changing your lifestyle. Many of us have created bad habits over the years and changing these requires a committed effort to consciously recognize and alter some of these patterns. Ultimately you need to change both your internal beliefs and your external environment to step you up for success.

It takes time to develop new habits, so a positive, forgiving attitude is essential. You will not become an athlete overnight, but by slowly changing your internal dialog and external situation, you will find a new lifestyle that encourages fitness.

Begin by checking with you doctor to ensure that you can safely exercise without restrictions. Once you have the OK, surround yourself with supportive people and role models.

Having a support system is crucial in starting a workout program. The nice thing about Achieve and MABC is the coachs and the clients become your support system as well as your accountability measure! Accountability and motivation are very important to success. Ask those who are active how they’ve set up their lifestyle to support activity. You will learn a lot from those who are doing what you want to do.

Reshape your behavior. A realistic goal is one that’s more about creating a healthier outlook than working your way down a to-do list. If you focus on making behavioral changes before piecing together the details of your workout regimen, this will help.

Get prepared. Plan ahead and you’re a lot less likely to back out tomorrow. Pack your exercise gear and get your food together. Very small things you can do the night before will set you up for success. For extra security, put your workout bag in your car.

Be consistent. It’s no secret that in order to reach your fitness goals, you must make exercise an integral part of your daily life. The body craves consistency. So does the mind. If you want to work out from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Thursday, write it down in your planner and treat it as an inflexible appointment. Soon, your brain and body will happily fall in line and you won’t need to set reminders for yourself. Regular sleep and meal times will further solidify your new fitness regimen.

Use momentum to your advantage. Focus on making lots of good little decisions. When your behavior makes you feel better, you’re going to feel positive and keep going. If you’re planning a big leap—say, going from being sedentary to working out five days a week—consider starting with a few small, fail-safe moves. You’ll have a much easier time saying “yes” to 15 minutes of Pilates at home than to an hour-long session at the gym— until you’re back in your exercise groove.

Track every workout. Why are store rewards programs so successful? Because nothing drives us forward like seeing what we’ve already racked up (stopping halfway to a reward feels like losing free money, right?). By the same token, seeing small milestones in ink is an easy way to build fitness momentum. Not into keeping a fitness journal? Get a calendar and simply make a check mark for every day you work out. It may not be as efficient as tracking your measurements or heart rate, but trust me, if you see that you’ve hit the gym every day this week, you’re not going to break your winning streak when some silly excuse comes along.

Plan on some catch-up. Eager to get moving again? Not so fast: It’s common for people to overestimate their fitness level when starting or restarting a training routine. Rather than assuming your ability is the same as it used to be, start slowly so you can gauge your strength. Choose a lighter dumbbell off the rack for your first few deadlifts. A slow start definitely beats fatigue, excessive muscle soreness, and injury—what you risk by overdoing it.

Think wellness, not weight loss. Why? It gets back to focusing on behavioral changes instead of the particulars of a program. When you think about overall wellness as the reason for beefing up your exercise efforts, you’re more likely to choose a sustainable program. Sure, a hyped-up, trendy program might look good on paper, but you may not be comfortable with what’s required to keep up with it. The changes you make to get in shape are the changes you’re going to have to maintain, If they aren’t sustainable, they aren’t worth doing.

Sources: http://www.health.usnews.com

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