Getting fit

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photo of a bike
Photo credit: Ryan M

Where to begin?

Thinking of getting fit this year but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start?

Getting fit is not just about exercising for hours. It is a combination of exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep and mental focus (including de-stressing yourself and thinking positive).

I do not view exercise as a chore. Exercising gives me energy and relaxes me. I remember that I need to take time for myself, or I will not be healthy for my family long-term.

Find an exercise that you enjoy

I am not the type to enjoy running on a treadmill, so I constantly look for different ways to make my workouts exciting. I am currently combining dance, boxing/martial arts and yoga (so basically aerobic workout) alternating every second day with circuit weight-training (basically doing a variety of exercises using free weights like dumbbells and bar). You wonder how that’s possible? Well, you gotta use your imagination a bit!

Based on research, exercising does wonders for your health and brain. Yo! If you really must play Candy Crush or plop yourself in front of the TV, at least get on an exercise bike.

Here are just 5 simple ways to start

  1. Small steps. If you have never exercised before, you may want to consult your doctor before beginning. I would suggest that you start with walking and some light weight-lifting. If you are not sure how to lift weights, you can join the gym and hire a trainer for a few sessions, or as many people do – watch YouTube videos! Weight-lifting is really good for building muscles. And more muscle mass in turn means better calorie/fat-burning and protects against osteoporosis. If you need motivation and a goal for walking, you can buy yourself any of the watches that record your steps (such as a FitBit).
  2. Choose your exercise. If you have joint pain, an exercise like swimming or yoga might be suitable. Not sure what you like? Try everything!
  3. Master your breathing technique. I am learning yoga on my own from a book that I bought 20 years ago. The most important thing is learning how to inhale and exhale through your nose. I think most of us tend to breathe in through our nose, but breathe out through our mouth. I Googled why it is good to inhale and exhale through the nose, and discovered that when we breathe in we take in oxygen (duh!). If we breathe out through our mouth the action is quick, so the oxygen does not have as much time to absorb and fuel our bodies. So by exhaling through our noses the process is slowed down. This sounds very logical eh? I have applied this breathing technique not just to yoga, but to my everyday life.
  4. Eat healthier. Start simple by cutting out the junk and processed food. Work on incorporating more whole foods (for example, this means eating the actual vegetable like corn and not canned corn).
  5. Don’t feel guilty if you skip a day. It is ok to skip a day if you really don’t feel like working out. Don’t feel guilty about it. Just keep going the next day. It is recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. More for children. www.canada.ca

In this thing called life, I believe our health (physical and mental) is number one. After dealing with two post-stroke parents for many years, I say that I do not want to “STROKE-OUT”.

Stay healthy!

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