The New Year is here, and I’m looking forward to another year of exercise. Yes, this couch potato does have an exercise programme which I have followed for over two years. For many people the New Year is the time of resolutions, and the resolution to get fit is possibly the most common. There is lots of advice out there on the internet, our web site and in books, but we are all different. This is how I managed to put exercise into my life.
First it is very important to know why you want to exercise more. We all know that it is important but why is exercise important to me? Here are my reasons for exercising:
- to go tramping. Despite my official couch potato status I like tramping but was not able to enjoy it because of my lack of fitness.
- fix up my knee, which hurt while tramping and during everyday life.
- strengthen my upper body to help with RSI/OOS and stop being a wimp.
- improve my health by increasing bone density and muscle mass before it becomes a lot harder.
- develop an active lifestyle before it gets too hard. Are there any older people whose lifestyle you would like to follow- are they physically active?
- stop feeling so flabby and blobby and gain confidence in my body.
And has it worked? Yes, the knee is mostly better, and I’m stronger. I won’t know about being ready for old age for a little while.
A well considered list of reasons will help sort out what exercise is for you. With a dodgy knee and a desire for more upper body strength I decided that the gym was my best option. I go to QEII fitness centre which is on my way to work, cheap and staffed with great people. The instructors have given me lots of help with varied programmes and repeatedly showing me how to safely do the exercises. I do some cardio (exercise bike, treadmill) and weights. There are lots of people just like myself at the gym: we aren’t all lycra-clad gym bunnies! If the gym is not for you, walk, cycle (to work and save on petrol too), swim, garden furiously – there is something for everyone. Your doctor or a physio might also be able to help with suggestions.
Motivation is a problem. My “I don’t want to go today” whine still features at home. But I have made going a top priority, above convenience. Having a good list of reasons to go helps here. I can’t weasel out of my own reasoning. Some people may find that working toward fitness goals or a competition like a triathlon helps; my goal is to go to the gym and not worry so much about how much I do when I’m there. And it is important to keep my promises to myself: if I go when I’ve promised myself to take it easy, I have to ease up on something even if I feel good when I get there.
There is so much advice in magazines, the internet, TV, books – it is overwhelming and can be dispiriting. But if you are starting from nothing, like me, anything you do is a bonus. If anyone else has tips for getting and keeping fit it would be great to hear them.
- New Year’s Resolutions at Christchurch City Libraries
- Sports and fitness web sites listed in the internet gateway
- Healthy lifestyle resources at Christchurch City Libraries
- Books about exercise