THE 5 W’s of Getting Fit

Who can start a fitness routine? Anyone of any age can start increasing their activity level however, it is important to first get medical clearance from your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. Your doctor will assess your current health status to make sure you are ready to start exercising. This will make sure that you get started on the right track if you have any health problems that might be a concern when exercising.

What do I need to help get myself more fit? All you need to get started on a regular aerobic/cardiovascular fitness routine is some comfortable clothes, a good pair of shoes, and some motivation! Walking is a great aerobic activity that can be performed by almost anybody, anywhere. Other examples of different types of activity that you can perform on a daily basis to help improve your cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, and blood vessels) are cycling, skating, continuous swimming, dancing, cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, roller blading, and even vigorous yard work or cleaning.

Stretching to help improve your flexibility is also important. This helps keep your joints mobile and reduces your chance of getting hurt while exercising or while performing daily chores. To perform a good stretching routine the only equipment you need is a clear area on the floor and some comfortable clothes.

Strength training is also a very important activity to include in your fitness routine, especially for people over the age of 50. Challenging your muscles through lifting weights helps to strengthen and tone your muscles, improve your metabolism, and increase the strength of your bones. The added benefit from this means you look better and feel and look younger! Depending on your strength, a low cost way to get started with weights is a set of adjustable dumbbells and barbells and either a bench or an exercise ball. You can also use activities and objects around the house to help increase your strength. Activities such as abdominal curls, push ups, body weight squats and even heavy yard work such as cutting and piling wood can help improve your muscle strength.

When do I need to do my routine? A great way to get started is to plan to do your full exercise routine 3 times a week, or every other day. Cardiovascular activities can be performed for 20 – 60 minutes a day depending on the intensity. A strength training routine should be performed every other day if you have not had help from a fitness professional or a reputable book in designing a suitable schedule. It is always best to work with your own time schedule and make it realistic. For example, do not plan to exercise 6 times a week if you know you only have time to commit to 3 times a week.

here should I exercise? If you plan to exercise at home, set aside a clean, clear area in a pleasant environment to perform your exercises. Make sure the area has good ventilation and good lighting. If necesssary, improve the décor of the area so it is an enjoyable place to be. This will help to encourage and motivate yourself to exercise. If you choose to exercise at a fitness facility choose a place that is in a convenient location with a good selection of exercise equipment and friendly, qualified staff. Privately owned and municipal run facilities all have features that appeal to a wide variety of people. Take the time and investigate different locations and write down the features of each one. Compare the services, cleanliness, operational hours, staff, availability of staff, exercise equipment, state of the exercise equipment, exercise classes, class schedules, prices, member contracts and additional member services such as daycare, towel services, extra amenities, personal training, and fitness evaluations offered by each facility.

Why should I exercise? Many people believe they get enough exercise in daily life activities or that they currently feel fine and do not see the need to exercise. Unfortunately, Canadian health statistics show a different picture. Many Canadians suffer from some type of illness such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or diabetes bought about by a poor lifestyle (improper diet, not enough activity, smoking, etc.) Such illnesses can be largely prevented and partially treated by a healthy lifestyle approach that includes proper diet and activity. Do not wait until your health detiorates before you do something about it… eating well and increasing your activity is great health insurance, start investing in your body today!