There are loads of ways to get fit, but the hardest part of any of these is actually getting started. About 7 months ago, I hadn't taken part in any meaningful regular exercise for quite some time, so I decided to plunge into the deep end and started running. Running is a cheap and effective means of getting fit. It's cheap as you don't need special equipment or a designated space to do it. I literally open my front door and start running, and the only expense I've had is a new pair of running shoes. It is an effective means of raising your fitness levels and burning off excess calories, as it is incredibly demanding. It can also increase your confidence and relieve stress or decrease depression! Check out some benefits of running!
Of course, the difficulty with any fitness or weight loss program is motivation. It is all too easy to miss a turn, or not put in a full effort. There are plans to help you out, though. I started with one that would get me to 5km. I liked the discipline of following a plan that had been designed for people like me, that is completely unfit slobs. But by the time the course is over, which is just 9 weeks, these slobs are running non stop for 3 miles/5km. I didn't actually follow the program religiously. I was ill for a couple of weeks and did no running at all, then eased back by repeating a level I'd already done, but in the end I got through the plan.
It felt absolutely great, a huge achievement, a personal goal conquered. In fact, it felt so good I started looking for another plan that could take me further. I found a plan that takes people from 5km up to an hour, or 10km of running. Again, I didn't religiously stick to the plan, but found that I wanted to run and was happy to step up the distance. Last week I completed the the one hour runner course, and I ran my second 10km run at the weekend.
Setting goals and staying focussed.
Once you get to a comfort level, it's pretty easy to set your own goals. How hard you push yourself to achieve these is a different matter. With running, the obvious goals are going further or faster, so for instance, I've set myself targets to reach for both 5km and 10km, and I also have a target for how far to run in 1 hour. These at least keep me constantly going out to run. I, like many others run alone, and to test myself against others, I have joined a running community. There are a number of good apps that you can get for your phone based on tracking you via GPS as you are training. I belong to Endomondo but there are heaps to choose from. In this community I can join challenges such as distance or speed tests (I am currently running 100km in November) and track your performances to see how (or if) you are progressing. There are forums, and blogs as well but part of the idea of exercise is to get out and away from the computer.
You can also plan to run a race, or a charity run. I am going to run the 2012 de Castella run for mental Health. I started a little late to enter the 2011 event. But who knows, the future might bring half marathons or full marathons?
Anyone who exercises encounters some problems. Firstly, there is a great risk of doing too much too soon. This can lead to injury and it is the best reason for following a fairly easy training plan. I am currently running every second day so as to give my aging bones and muscles some recovery time. Today I ran about 8km, but felt pretty heavy legged as I had run 10km in a fairly fast time just 2 days ago. It's a good idea to get to know your body and its limits.
Then there may be times that you can't keep up with the plan. Well don't worry, life goes on. It is not imperative to fulfil a running program in a given time to have a rewarding and meaningful life. Again, knowing your limits, including when you might need to take breaks, are important.
Tonight I had a technical problem with my GPS system. It didn't start for the first kilometre, and the app on my phone, and the home page online disagreed as to how far I actually ran today. Am I bothered? No, I ran about 8km after work and felt great :)
I'm in my 40's and soon after the program started on the build up to 5km, I had some aches in my knees and ankles. So I laid off for a bit, and started taking an omega 3 supplement. I initially started with wild krill oil tablets, but I'm currently on plain fish oil tablets. About a week after starting the supplements I had no problems with my joints. I have subsequently discovered that the supplements I'm taking are good for many other things as well.