If you’ve been putting off exercise for god knows how long, preferring to snuggle up on your couch with a bag of chips, don’t be offended by the term couch potato. A couch potato has it the toughest – he or she has to not only fight their established lethargy but also train muscles not used to exercising. It takes a great deal of determination and willpower to go from being a couch potato to an exercise enthusiast. Use our tips to help you in this venture.
1. Don’t Set Any Great Goals
The idea is to find a way to sustain regular exercise – not to dream big and fall flat on one’s face. Plus, the fewer people who know about your goal, the lesser your chances of being laughed at.
2. Don’t Sign Up For A Gym Membership Immediately
Your muscles are not used to being stretched, and using unfamiliar gym machines might cause tears in your ligament and muscles. Plus, gym memberships can be expensive and if you’re not able to use yours, you’ll only feel further depressed.
3. Do Stretches First
On a light stomach, stand straight and stretch your arms as far as they’ll go. Do sideway bends; work your shoulder and neck muscles. These stretches will exercise all the major muscle groups and get you ready for some exercise.
4. Start With Small Walks
Start small – just a small walk around the block in the early mornings or at night is a good beginning. The first time you will feel short of breath but this will improve. Don’t try anything big until your body is ready for it.
5. Do Just A Little Bit More Every Day
Push yourself just a little bit more each day, even if this means parking your car a few blocks away each day just to walk that far. Your body will slowly heal itself and you will experience positive energy. This will give you the impetus you need to do a little bit more every day.
6. Aim For 30 Minutes A Day
After a week or two of this, time yourself. Aim for a 30 minute walk, preceded by 5 minutes of stretching. It helps to set a time of day for this activity. Early mornings are good, since oxygen quality is better.
7. Take The Weekends Off
For someone not used to exercising at all, it’s important to have those two days off to allow strained muscles to relax and heal. Do some mild stretches on your off days.
8. See What Physical Activity You Can Fit Into Your Day
Can you climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator? Can you carry your toddler around the block? How about walking to the water cooler instead of keeping a filled bottle at your desk?
9. Watch Out For Injuries And Health Hazards
Get yourself checked out for heart issues and obtain a list of recommended exercises. For example, very overweight people are asked to lose weight before straining their knees climbing stairs.
10. Don’t Look At Exercise As Another Task
If you start thinking of your exercise as another ‘routine’, you’ll fail. Keep it fresh – stop while walking to smell the flowers or watch children play. You’ll soon start looking forward to your jaunts.
11. Stay Away From Know-It-Alls
You’ll find them at gyms, health spas and even at the park where you walk. They’re full of advice, suggestions and unsolicited feedback. They mean well, but the advice won’t help at the stage you’re in. Be polite and avoid them.
12. Don’t Do Workouts That You Don’t Like
All forms of exercise are beneficial, so you can pick and choose. If jogging makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t jog. Do what you like; this way, you’ll enjoy what you do and you’re likely to do more of it.
13. Know Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing
If you’ve got diabetes, a brisk walk is your best friend. Don’t listen to someone who says walking won’t help you reduce weight. Your aim is to keep your blood circulation going and your sugar levels normal. Stick to what you understand and keep doing it.
14. Know That It’s Never Too Late For Anyone
You may have made love to your couch for ages and your muscles may have partially atrophied. It doesn’t matter. You may have heart and health issues. Still doesn’t matter. It’s never too late to get back to good health.
15. Watch Fitness Videos And Join Fitness Support Forums
There are many couch potatoes out there in exactly the same situation as you. Join fitness forums and talk to people, listen to their stories and discover your inner motivation. You can even join up with someone in your area for daily workouts.