Now that we’ve explained how fitness can have an impact on your case, we’re here with some hints on how to make fitness fit into your routine.
If you have not been exercising, starting in a small, manageable way will make it more likely you can stick to your new routine. Set realistic goals – “small steps” that you believe it will be easy to actually do. Instead of promising to run a mile, agree to walk around the block. Park further away from the door. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking, by the way, is a great form of exercise that costs very little and can be done almost anywhere. Not everyone has to run marathons or swim the English Channel to be fit.
Write down your workout accomplishments. You don’t need expensive watches or a GPS device. You can keep an old-school paper notebook or jot your daily workout on a free calendar from your bank. If you are a little more techie, the internet is full of free software and websites that let you keep track of your progress and even map out and determine the distance of your favorite routes. One of my favorites is www.runningahead.com. This site allows you to plug in a GPS, but you can manually enter data too. Other popular sites are www.mapmyrun.com and www.mapmyride.com. Check out www.thebabbleout.com/running/5-absolute-best-running-apps/ for a comparison review of several apps that help you keep up with your workout data. And don’t forget your i-Phone has a fitness tracker feature as one of its standard apps (the “Health” app with the little heart will track steps, miles and flights of stairs).
Most important, SCHEDULE your exercise of choice just like it was the most important appointment of your day – because it is. Put your workout on your calendar along with everything else you have to do today. It helped me to work with a personal trainer – having an appointment I knew I would have to pay to cancel motivated me to show up and made me accountable to another person for my exercise. If you can’t afford a personal trainer, you can create accountability by making an exercise appointment with a friend the same way. Agree to make each other atone for missed workouts in some way – the one who misses may have to agree to drive to some activity, or buy the other a coffee.
Agree to reward yourself as well for meeting your goals. The rewards can be small or large – just something that will motivate you personally. Ideally, the reward should NOT involve food or alcohol. Allow yourself a new piece of running or walking gear; or to watch an extra episode of a favorite TV series, for example.
As you progress in your routine, be sure to spend your money on gear that matters most. If you are running or walking, buy the best shoes you can afford. Invest a little time going to a specialty running or walking store to be professionally fitted and gait-tested. Injury will sideline you and keep you from reaching your goals. If you begin having injury or pain issues, don’t give up – ask friends or message boards to recommend a medical professional who will help you continue to exercise safely.
Other good exercise gear does not have to be expensive either. Not only are there tons of sales out there at this time of year, many discount stores like Target, WalMart and Old Navy have lines of exercise clothing that are very functional and very reasonably priced. (But again, if you are running or walking, DO spend money on your shoes.)
By starting out small and building movement into your daily routine, you can be on your way to being a healthier happier person (and make your lawyer jump for joy too)!