Exercise for Fitness: Beginners Start Here
Good Food and Diet for Health, and Exercise for Fitness
Like all the best relationships, they belong with each other.
It is true that you can lose weight by changing your diet. If you reduce your food/energy intake below the amount you burn up, you’ll lose weight.
Likewise, exercise for fitness will help you burn more than you take in, you can also lose weight that way.
Getting this balance wrong can put you on that roller-coaster where you can lose weight but can’t keep it off.
One of the biggest misconceptions about exercise for fitness was started by the super-exercise (not fitness) folks, the body-builders – “No Pain, No Gain”, they said.
I suppose there is some truth in that at some level, but that all depends on your personal goals.
Ask Yourself – What Do You Want To Achieve?
Do you want to be a body builder? Or for now, just have your clothes fit more comfortably? Maybe later, drop a size or two?
If you are a body builder, then you already know what to do, and there is nothing for you on this page. If you want to change your life in a sensible way, and find an exercise – fitness program you can live with, one that works, one that you can actually do, then keep reading.
Exercise for Fitness – Basics You Should Know
Fact: You don’t have to do a lot of exercise to gain tremendous benefit.
A simple walk in the park four times a week will provide all the exercise you need, as long as you walk long enough and at a good pace.
How Much is Long Enough? And What is a Good Pace?
If you are really out of shape, and badly overweight, and just starting to think seriously about doing some exercise for fitness, long enough might be a walk down the hallway and back without stopping to rest. A good pace might be a slow shuffle.
There is ‘Magic’ in Exercise, and There Are Secrets To ‘Fitness Success’.
Boyd’s Pathology is one of those basic textbooks all doctors carry around with them at medical school. Boyd’s says “Life Is Motion. Where motion should be… and motion is not, there will always be a functional upset”.
You’ve heard this put in simpler terms – it means ‘Use it or Lose It”.
Think of a rusty hinge… it should move freely, but it doesn’t. You can put some oil on the hinge, and begin to apply a little pressure to it so the oil begins to clear out the rust, and if you do this over and over long enough, with just enough gentle pressure, the hinge can perform normally again and last for years.
Yes, I know, it depends on how bad it was to start with. And I know, we can’t oil our joints.
And we certainly can’t put a knee joint or elbow into the vice on the workbench to ‘force’ it to move.
Instead of oil, we can feed our joints and muscles better quality food. And instead of a vice and a crowbar, we can gently ask our knee and shoulder joints, in fact our entire body, to do more than it did yesterday – and the way we ask is exercise, sometimes at a very simple beginners level.
The ‘Magic’ of Diet, Exercise and Fitness Will Appear In A Little While
With time, the body can take the ingredients from the right food and ‘wash the rust out of the joints’ and can rebuild the joint surfaces, and in fact rebuild all the cells of the body – one cell at a time.
Also, with time, the body can function at higher levels – it can move more freely tomorrow than it does today – and all we have to do is to ask it, through exercise.
The Secret Is To Begin
Whatever your current status, whatever your situation – begin.
Do not think it will all be done in one day, and do not harm yourself by doing too much too soon. This can cause injury and frustration, and cause you to quit without any benefit.
Begin gently and deliberately, and with the intention to have a healthier body. Your body will rise to the task, and all it needs is better food a regular exercise. Exercise first, fitness comes later.
And once you begin you’ll see that diet and exercise are true partners with many benefits for you.
For example, there is no longer any question that those who do both – exercise and diet – lose more weight, faster. Also, more people who do both at once enjoy permanent weight loss compared to those who only do one but not the other.
Exercise can improve much more than your fitness and general health. Exercise can improve your self-esteem, mood, it can reduce anxiety and stress, and regular exercise for fitness can help you feel more personally empowered.
Plus, as you start to feel better, you are more likely to continue your diet and exercise program, because you feel better.
Other fitness benefits follow, such as lower blood pressure, better insulin and cholesterol numbers, leading to better overall health and more wellness.
How Do You Begin?
I am not your doctor, and nothing on this site can replace the relationship you have with your physician.
Before you begin to exercise, you should know the condition of your health, especially your cardiovascular system. Commonly that requires a blood pressure test, a cholesterol test, and an EKG. Which probably means a visit to your doctor.
And the common response by the medical profession, should problems be found in these areas, is that you should NOT exercise, you should take prescription drugs instead.
And although I disagree with that, it is up to you to decide for yourself how you feel about prescription drugs. Remember, pain killers cover up symptoms; they do not – cannot – rebuild the body; only good food and exercise can do that.
Even the Mayo Clinic staff doesn’t know the answer: “Although physical activity is perfectly safe for most people, sometimes it’s important to get a doctor’s OK before you exercise. Just when a person needs to see his or her doctor isn’t known.”
My Advice is Simple.
If you are moderately obese and weigh up to 130 percent of your ideal weight, and have no other problems such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, smoking, or heart troubles, your risk is very much like the general population.
If you weigh more than 130 percent of your ideal, and/or have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoke, heart trouble, diabetes, etc. then get checked out before you begin to exercise.
Begin With a Change of Diet.
Eat a bowl of oatmeal to your diet once a day, and take the time to eat an apple once a day for two weeks. These two dietary changes can begin a cleansing process of the body, including the cardiovascular system. This will help prepare your body for exercise.
Then Add Walking.
Not fast, not far – but walk. If you find yourself out of breath and unable to talk, you are walking too fast. Rest until you feel normal, and then go at a slower pace. Do this every day, and your ability to walk farther and more briskly will increase.
If you are an out-of-shape beginner, you may be doing well to walk ten minutes on a flat surface when you start. You’ll find yourself able to increase the amount of time you walk by a minute or two a day until you get up to 30 to 45 minutes or more.
Again, the best way to gauge your exercise level is to keep track of your breathing. You should be able to carry on a conversation with someone while you exercise. If you exceed your ‘optimal’ level, you will not be able to talk while you exercise. At that point, slow down, catch your breath, and resume a more moderate pace.
It is easier, safer, and more effective to add time to your exercise than to increase the intensity of it. Adding ten minutes to a thirty minute exercise session will burn 33 percent more calories. The longer you exercise, the more the fuel comes from stored fat.
Begin Your Exercise Program Slowly and Increase It Gradually
Remember, your goal is fitness and weight loss. You don’t have to keep up with anybody else, you don’t have to prove anything to yourself.
Avoid injury, exhaustion, pain, and discouragement. Your should not have chest pains, leg pains, or other body aches and pains while you exercise. When you are finished you should feel better than when you started, not worse.
Then, stay with it.
Trust your body and your own inborn, innate intelligence to use the good food and regular exercise you give it to develop the fitness and health you want.
It’s simple: Good Food and Diet for Health, and Exercise for Fitness.
One day at a time, with better food and regular exercise, your body can replace the old, damaged cells, it can remove the fat cells you don’t need, and it can to restore your body to better health.
Dr. Martin McIntosh