Starting a fitness program can be a daunting task at any age. It becomes especially hard if we have never done one before, are battling weight gain or just trying to maintain our health as we age. There are so many fitness programs, instructors, gyms, magazines, videos available that all the information can become confusing and definitely overwhelming.
When a client says to me “I don’t know where to start!”, I point them in one direction: The 3 “W”‘s!! This should be the standard foundation of all fitness programs whether you are a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast. These three small steps become great habits to make that foundation strong and everlasting.
#3 – Water!
Yes, drinking water. Although it may seem pretty basic, I have yet to come across a person in need of a fitness program that is drinking substantial water. A client will say “Yes, I drink enough water.” but when I have them actually track their intake in a daily diary, they fall VERY short of the requirements. Exactly how much water should you be drinking and when?
- Drink 8 cups per day = 64 oz! (for athletes it should be 10 cups per day = 80 oz)
- Upon waking drink 8-10 oz of water immediately with lemon essential oil
- If you drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage, then you should consume the equivalent (1:1 ratio) of water in addition to the daily requirements.
- Drink water BEFORE, and leading up to, a work out (this avoids dehydration during your workout)
- Drink water BEFORE dinner, NOT during or after. You need to be fully hydrated before taking in fiber so that your body can digest it properly and provide the benefits of proper digestion. Remember: Eating a high fiber diet and being dehydrated = constipation! Also, drinking water during or after a meal, affects your body’s ability to break down the food within the stomach.
#2 – Weight Training (Resistance Training)
Weight training, also known as resistance training, is an absolute ‘must’ in maintaining a healthy body weight and preserving our muscles. However, I am not saying to go run out and sign up at a gym or start pumping iron like a bodybuilder. Weight training can be done right in your own home with small dumbbells (or house hold items like a full plastic gallon water jug) or not using additional weight at all (just your body weight).
Tracy Anderson, known for being Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer, made a name for herself by toning up celebrities just by using the movement of their own bodies! The secret is out for us to learn from. Using our own body weight to maintain our muscles is a great way to start a fitness program especially if the thought of any size dumbbell sends you screaming with anxiety!
Some ideas to get you started for weight training at any age are as follows:
- Take the stairs. Make sure when the option is available to walk up stairs. This small exercise is great for some of the largest most important muscles in our bodies found in our legs. It also helps us maintain our balance throughout life. That doesn’t mean you have to walk 8 flights of stairs every day. If you are overweight or just starting out, take 8 – 10 steps to start with and build from there.
- Use small (2 – 5lbs) weights or household items to do easy arm exercises like bicep curls. This is a very easy exercise that maximizes another very important muscle in our body, the bicep.
- Leg raises. Don’t get nervous! I do not mean hanging from a bar and doing leg raises for 6 pack abs. I mean something much more easy. . Lay in bed and bring your knees up to your chest (or as close as you can to your chest), do this 10x each night before going to bed. This helps maintain lower back muscle but also keeping your hips flexible (a very important aspect as we age).
- Start a hobby that incorporates movement. Hobbies such as taking photos (holding a camera and moving to get the perfect shot) or gardening are examples go great hobbies that keep us nimble.
#1 – WALK!!
You heard me right, WALK! Not run. Not HIIT exercises. Not aerobics. Not walking to the car in the morning. One hour a day, everyday of walking! I can not stress how important this one simple step to maintaining a healthy fitness regimen is!! It’s VERY IMPORTANT!!
For some reason this one step confuses people more than anything else and it is also the one that ends up falling to the wayside. I am surprised to learn how many people don’t take time to walk anymore. We are so busy with errands, getting to the gym, household responsibilities, work etc and therefore walking has become virtually nonexistent these days. Why is it so important? How do I fit it into my life EVERYDAY?
- Step out your front door and walk. No agenda necessary. (Let me reiterate: NO running or aerobic exercise attached to this step!)
- The best part of the day to walk is in the morning, after you drink your lemon water and before you break your fast with food. If your just not able to make time in the morning, then split it up into segments throughout the day.
- Humans are natural wanderers and quite nomadic, one of the benefits to standing upright on two legs.
- Walking gives us an opportunity to relax our body but still move. Walking improves our circulation, coordination and enhances our mood.
- Walking gives us a chance to think! Most of my best business ideas have come during my daily walks. Walking gives our mind a chance to be engaged while in a relaxed state.
- If walking for one hour seems over bearing, I suggest listening to your favorite podcast (one that provides learning something new). Avoid music though, as it is a stimulant and can be very distracting.
There you have it and there’s not much to it!
Water, Weights and Walking! The 3 “W”s to get you started down the road to a healthy and fit lifestyle.
What fitness tips do you have for that would be great for beginners at any age?
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