Get fit: Steps to getting started

Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute get fit
May 7,2013
We know that exercising is good for us. Not only can it reduce the risk for chronic disease, it can help us lose weight, improve self-esteem and increase our energy. But getting off the couch and getting moving is often our biggest challenge. After all, where does one even begin?

First, find an activity you enjoy doing.

“Exercise doesn’t have to be an exhausting ordeal that you dread,” said Angie Gallagher, registered clinical exercise physiologist and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab manager at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. “There’s an exercise for everyone. And if you’re doing something you like, it’ll be easier to make it a permanent part of your life.”

Next, Gallagher recommends having the three Cs in order:

Consistency: Make a regular effort to include exercise in your day. If you begin to do something over and over, it will eventually become a habit. Once exercise is that for you, it’ll become a natural part of your life. And Gallagher stresses even if you only have 10 minutes, there are exercises you can do like going for a brisk 10-minute walk or doing pushups and sit ups.

Convenience: Find a gym that’s on your way home from work or get a piece of equipment for your home, work out at lunch or get up a half hour earlier in the morning to take that brisk walk. Making it convenient to exercise will ensure it’s easier for you to keep at it.

Commitment: Remember why you’re exercising. Whether it’s to get healthy, prevent disease or feel better about yourself, remaining focused on what’s inspired you to exercise in the first place will help keep you focused and going.

And finally, while it’s recommended the average person get 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, Gallagher encourages beginners to start slow and celebrate each success along the way.

“Take it slow in the beginning and don’t expect overnight results. Commit to exercising a few days a week for 30 minutes. As that gets easier to do, add a fourth day and continue to build from there,” said Gallagher. “And pat yourself on the back when you’ve successfully completed a week’s worth of exercise or maybe you’ve added a few minutes to each walk. Always take the time to recognize how far you’ve come.”