The essentials are sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes. These may be easy for an exercise pro, but where do you start if you are a beginner? Comfortable clothes can be very simple; an old t-shirt and sweatpants will suffice. If you feel better when you feel stylish, try yoga pants or capris and a top with sweat-wicking fiber.
For shoes, beginners are probably best off going to a specialty running and walking store for expert advice and help with fitting. You will pay more at a specialty store than you would online, but the extra money is worth it, at least the first time, to make sure the shoes are right for you. You can always save money later by ordering online or going to a discount sporting goods store once you are confident you know which shoes you want. A word of wisdom: when it comes to shoes focus on function, not fashion!
Any other equipment you need depends on what activity you are planning to do. A gym usually has everything you need for its activities. If you need to get specialty equipment such as a yoga mat or boxing gloves, ask a friend or another seasoned activity buddy to help you find one that fits your needs and your budget.
A Backup Plan
Things go wrong quite often, so you had better have a backup plan if you want to have a chance of keeping up your exercise intentions. Here are a few examples.
· Plan to walk in the mall if there is a rainstorm when you are supposed to meet a friend in the park.
· Keep a pair of shoes in the trunk of the car so you can walk at lunch even if you forget to bring your workout shoes to work.
· Keep a protein bar and a protein shake with you so you can work out without a grumbling stomach on a busy day.
· Keep your phone charged so you can walk when your friend calls out of the blue and you chat for several minutes.
Dance if you love to dance. Stay off the treadmill if it is boring. Go swimming if you are a fish in the water. Skip the spinning classes if you hate loud music. Play basketball if you love shooting hoops.
Get the picture?
Do what you love, and skip what you hate. Exercise should be fun for you to be able to keep it up for years, and the great news is that it can be. Here are some tips for
Plan your entertainment, whether it is an upbeat playlist while hiking or an episode of your favorite TV show to watch while on the bike at home.
Get social, whether by phoning a friend while you are walking in the park, or meeting up with friends to walk or hold your own boot camp.
Prevent boredom by including different activities regularly. You could walk Mondays and Fridays, life weights Wednesdays, and show off the results of your training during your Saturday tennis matches.
Walk with a friend to a cafe for some low-calorie decaf coffee as a post-walk treat.
Make your workout something you enjoy, and you are way more likely to keep doing it.
Just like with your food, you are more likely to stick to your exercise intentions when you plan. It can be as simple as setting aside the time, such as 30 minutes in the morning. You may be more likely to follow through when you are more specific in your planning, such as a 15-minute walk followed by 15 minutes on the stationary bike. Planning helps you set aside the time and set aside any doubts about what you will do during that time.
Give yourself some well-planned rewards, and your mind and body will start to associate exercise with positive things. Your rewards can be tangible, such as a massage every time you work out five times in a week. They can also be emotional, such as taking five minutes to thank yourself after a workout and think about how good you feel.
You can get or stay fit, no matter your experience with exercise. It starts with an intention and continues with some hard work and great rewards.