What is a simple way of starting a fitness program?

Simple ways to start a fitness program.

Set a specific goal

Whatever your goal is - weight loss, muscle gain, coordination, or an athletic achievement - be specific and realistic. 

Determine your goal weight, inches you would like to lose or gain, and even how you would like to feel. Write it down in an affirming way, not just "I want to..." but "I am going to ...." 

Set smaller mile-stone goals

Sometimes goals are huge. Possibly overwhelming. Remember, no one can jump right off the couch and across a finish line all at once. Every goal takes time, focus, dedication and effort. Big goals are much easier to manage with mile-stones. 

Don't get discouraged if your destination is far away. For example, a first time marathon runner might start with a goal of completing a 5k, then a 10k, followed by a half-marathon and so on. A 5k is more attainable when struggling with that first 2 miles, whereas a marathon might seem impossible at the time. Therefore it's important to map out your own personal mile-stones. Again, be specific, decide what they are and write them down.

Remember nutrition

Food is nourishment; your body needs healthy food in order to be fit. Good, healthy meals should be part of your fitness routine. Stay away from empty foods; those highly processed, low in fiber and high in sugar. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables throughout the day and lean protein during meals. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy, so make sure you are getting the right amount from good sources. 

Attitude and Action

Attitude typically affects actions. People sometimes give up on their goals because of discouragement or lack of motivation. However, action can affect our attitude. Don't let how you feel determine if you are going to work out today. Get moving regardless of how you feel and notice how fitness can positively affect your mood. 

A positive atmosphere

Surround yourself with positive voices, images and motivators. Put up pictures or quotes that encourage you. Listen to the people who edify and inspire you.

Avoid situations that cause you to fall into unhealthy habits. Put yourself in environments that help you stay on track.

A good fitness program starts in the mind. Think of what it is you would like to change about yourself, and set a small goal to achieve that. This could be as simple as walking around the block every day this week. Then, gradually build on that goal to achieve more. If you can change the way you think about fitness and break it down into smaller goals, it becomes less overwhelming. Consulting a fitness professional is a good way to keep you on track.

Understand what fitness goals you want to accomplish and which options best suites this desire. Knowledge is the key to a simple fitness program. I would recommend taking a fitness assessment and nutrition review prior to staring a program. Once your strengths and weaknesses have been identified, an efficient program can be designed specifically to your goals. Be sure to incorporate fun exercises and activities as part of your workout regiment.   

Simple is a great concept to keep in mind when starting a fitness program.

Here are some ideas you may find useful to starting a simple fitness program.

  • Choose activities that you can do easily and that you enjoy. Some things you can do in your home are bodyweight exercises, walking, and dancing.
  • Schedule your activity. This will help you remember to do it and give exercise the same level of importance as your other scheduled activities.
  • Limit your activity - Don’t let your excitement to start lead to creating a plan that’s overwhelming. Start doing what you can do and start off with a plan that’s easy to follow.
  • Make exercise a habit – The above points will help with this. It may also be helpful to pair exercise with an existing habit, like before eating a meal.

An example beginning fitness program would be to walk 15 minutes before breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

After you follow that plan for a few weeks, you can progress by extending the walk to 20-25 minutes or more or adding a 15-minute walk to Tuesday and Thursday.

But start easy. Create a simple plan that’s easy to follow. You can expand on it in time. But one of the most important parts at the beginning is establishing exercise as a regular part of your weekly routine.

The simplest way to begin a fitness program is to begin the habit of exercise.  If this is all new to you then assuming you are of somewhat normal physical health just start a basic walking program.  Walk 30 minutes per day 3 days per week at first working up to 5 days per week.  Take it slow and enjoy the walk as your fitness improves your pace will naturally pick up and you will naturally adjust your workout due to your increased fitness.  Start here and then just begin making smarter choices with food more vegetables..  A lot more vegetables and some fruit.  Drink more water and eat leaner proteins.  All these habits will start you down the road to a fitter life.  

The simplest way to start a fitness program is to start out small and continually add to your routine.   Keep in mind you will eventually want to include aerobic exercise (keep your heart strong), strength training (for strong muscles), and stretching (maintain range of motion).  The key is to get started and find activities you enjoy doing.

Joy Larison
It isn't hard to start a fitness program by making small changes. You've heard it before, so bear with me:
  • Park out away from the door in the parking lot.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator every time.
  • Get off the couch during commercial breaks while watching tv and march in place.
  • If you are able, start a walking program around your home. Go for five minutes and turn around and head back.
  • Increase your time and distance as your endurance increases.
  • Having been a Sergeant in the Army, my favorite exercise is the push up. I don't mean you have to do full body push ups, but start with doing them against the wall and progress to the floor.
Of course consult with your doctor before you begin any exercise program, and perhaps have a session with a fitness coach in your area. They wil be able to evaluate where you are, and what would be a specific program designed to reach your goals safely for your current fitness status.
Preparing for the first day of working out can be intimidating. Plan to spend your first day doing something you really enjoy and schedule it into your day. You can just get outside and go for a walk. Asking a friend or family member to join you helps support your decision and is a great social outlet. If you are going to the gym, do some research ahead of time. What does your gym have that you are interested in doing? Pack your workout clothes the night before and leave them at the front door so you don't have to think about it the morning of. 
The simplest way of starting a fitness program is doing what you enjoy.  As I tell many of my clients I am not going to pick exercises they don't enjoy and would never do on their own.  Exercises is not meant to be painful, hard and unenjoyable.  Find things you are interested in.  These things can be things found in a gym like weights, treadmill or even ellipical.  Even getting involved in sports you enjoy as well which could be running, volleyball, basketball etc.  As time goes on you may found new interests as you exercise. 
Your starting point will depend upon your current fitness condition, your goals, and the activities you enjoy doing.  If you are interested in including aerobic activities as well as resistance training into your new fitness program, consider starting off in 10 minute increments throughout the day, then performing 30 minutes to 1 hour at one time per day once you really start getting into the workouts.

Whatever you do, it should be something you enjoy.  I love to dance, so if I'm cleaning house, I'll put on some good dancing music and dance around the house while I'm cleaning.  Its a fun way to get some otherwise tedious chores done, burn extra calories, and work on my aerobic condtioning at the same time.

Choose an activity you enjoy and make it fun and challenging.  The key is to not be discouraged. When you embark on a new routine, it can be very difficult to keep up with the new program.  Set realistic but specific goals. Another really important aspect is to team up with someone to get extra motivation.  Checking with your doctor before beginning a new fitness program is also a good idea.
Your starting point will depend on your previous fitness experience, current level of fitness, and your goals. The simplest way to start a fitness program is to add a little extra movement every day. This does not have to be highly structured routine, but it can involve modifications to your current daily routine and schedule. The more you move the more your body will adapt to the requirements of the increased demands. Start by walking around your neighborhood for 30-60 minutes a day. You can also extend the amount of time you are engaged in physical activity around the house. Take short breaks at work and practice some flexibility techniques. Park far away from the store, so you have to walk a little farther; use stairs instead of the elevator; or just take your dog for a quick walk around the block. When you find that you would like to expand your program, you can modify it to best suit your needs by possibly including higher intensity aerobic exercise, flexibility work, and resistance training.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.