Fitness Fundamentals: Build the Foundation for a Better Body

fitness, 101, basics, fundamentals

If you’re beginning an exercise program and feel a bit overwhelmed by it, you are not alone. Our convenient, technological society lends itself to excess sedentary behavior. Many of us spend the better parts of our weekdays sitting — we drive, ride, work at a desk, eat, watch TV — and then we lie down to sleep at night. Our daily routines do not necessarily provide built-in workouts.

Move Your Muscles

Unlike our ancestors, we don’t need to work out to survive; however, we do need to work out to thrive. Fitness is a practical and necessary component of a healthy body. We are human animals. We need to exercise, play, stretch, and use our bodies just as much as, if not more than, we need to send emails, watch TV, and drive or ride.

Be Mindful of the Benefits

The human body and mind are linked chemically and biologically, so when you improve your physical body, you‘ll reap mental and emotional benefits as well. In turn, your improved mental and emotional state will go a long way toward motivating you to exercise. The healthy connection is a win-win.

Not only does exercise make you more focused and mentally alert, it reduces stress to help you feel calmer and even increases libido. All this translates into a happier lifestyle, simply by dedicating a block of time every day to exercise and physical activity.

Keeping these benefits in mind makes it easier to stay motivated and keep your exercise program going. Do this by appreciating the benefits of exercise when you notice them in your life. For example, if you observe that you feel more energetic, be grateful to your exercise program. The more you associate exercise benefits with the physical activity, the easier it will be to stay with your program.

Exercise controls weight, decreases the risk of heart disease, improves sleep, increases energy, and much, much more. Make a list of all the benefits of exercise. Get specific by personalizing your list. Whenever something good happens as a result of your fitness regimen, write it down. In time, your list will swell Our minds can make up dozens of irrational excuses to not exercise, so read your list at least once a week to motivate you to keep on keeping on.

A positive but practical mindset is crucial for improving fitness. Your main goal should be to achieve good fitness habits, rather than to get into good shape. If you focus first on quick weight loss and body toning, the one thing you’re sure to do quickly is burn out. If you focus on implementing healthy eating and exercise habits first, and then build on them slowly and steadily, the weight loss and toning will take care of themselves.

Pace Yourself

Always remember: personal fitness is a long-term journey that evolves over decades of practice. In our too-convenient, super-fast, technology-focused society, we’re all used to instant gratification. But fitness doesn’t work that way; fitness works like biology —methodically and deliberately, according to natural, physical laws.

Stay Informed

Remember that knowledge empowers you in all areas of life. Learn about jogging, read about yoga, or watch a DVD about basic nutrition. Fitness.gov/fitness.htm, for instance, is a great resource for fitness basics. Read the site thoroughly for tips and tricks to keep you focused on your goals. With good fitness habits, your mental, emotional, and physical well-being will improve many fold.

Even if you’ve been working out awhile, it never hurts to be reminded of why you’re working so hard. What exercise benefits keep you motivated to continue your workout?

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