Getting on Track: Tips to Enjoying Exercise

My husband and I recently moved from the Florida panhandle to sunny San Diego, California.  When we lived in Florida I succeeded in gaining 20+ lbs and was then faced with the task of trying to lose it before our wedding in about 7 months.

Trying to get fit and healthy has been one of my biggest goals since, and after our move to California my husband has decided to join me!  I must say though, it is a daunting task.  Especially in a new community.  When I was ready to lose weight in Florida it was soon after I had moved there from my hometown in Ohio.  I asked family and friends for advice, and the majority of them said, “Losing weight really just comes down to calories in vs. calories out.  It really is pretty simple.”  Ok, sounds simple, but I still had no clue how to start.  I was in Florida in the middle of the summer.  It was upwards of 100 degrees outside with what felt like 100% humidity, or close to it.  That, or it was raining buckets.  Remember, in Florida the summer is not only the rainy season but also hurricane season.  Being very out of shape, I definitely did not want to be outside more than I had to, and especially did not want to try to run or walk outside.  Surely I would die of heat exhaustion!  I was also unemployed, diligently searching for work, which made the prospect of a monthly gym membership charge unsavory.

Over the past year and a half, I lost those 20 extra pounds and am trying to become as physically in shape as I have ever been in my life. I want to share with you what I have learned about personal nutrition and physical fitness.

1. Get Started

When it comes to fitness, I have learned that it is best to start small, with something you have done before and think you will enjoy.  This will most likely leave you feeling good, excited and motivated to be active again!  Make the first thing easy for yourself, because the hardest part (in my experience) is getting started.  Going for a walk is a great place to begin, and you can even bring the family with you.  You might choose to walk around your neighborhood, or find a safe place to walk nearby such as a housing development, a park, or inside a large public building such as a shopping mall, museum, or hospital.

2. Make a Plan

After you get started, make plans for how you will be active.  Make a schedule for how you can work it into your life.  My husband just decided last weekend to purchase the treadmill he had been eying for quite a while.  He did some research and found one online for a great price.  On our way to see it, he told me “The best investment you can make is in your health.  You are investing in yourself.  What is more important than that?”  To which I replied, “What about my ring?”  He had to agree.  All joking aside though, he is right.  You may decide to invest some money in your physical fitness, and you are worth it!  That does not mean you need to buy a treadmill.  Your investment might be good running shoes, a bicycle, some workout DVDs and a mat, or a gym membership.

3. Have Fun!

It really does not matter how you exercise, as long as you are active.  So try new things and find something you enjoy!  For me, I enjoy working out at the gym and going on long walks/hikes outdoors.  I would also like to become a decent runner and be able to do a 5K, so I push myself to run outside even though it is awful.  I used to love riding my bike when I was in college, so I am hoping to buy a bike soon.  My husband and I have decided to start having active dates instead of going out to eat.  We want to learn how to surf and snorkel, go canoeing, climbing, kayaking, and of course hiking at the beautiful parks around us.  I am so excited!  It is not only good for our bodies, it is great for our marriage to spend time having fun together in a new and healthy way!

4. Set Goals for Yourself

It helps me to stay motivated if I have a goal I am working towards.  As I mentioned previously, I want to run a 5K, so right now I am working on my running.  My husband and I are also setting goals of hikes we want to do at the gorgeous parks nearby, like the hike at the Grand Canyon all the way to the bottom and then back up, and Zion National Park.  Do some research to find exciting things you would like to be able to do in your area!

5. Focus on the Positive Outcomes

I exercise because I decided to do it, for me.  Exercising helps to lose weight and prevent weight gain, and helps you get in better shape.  Exercising will also make you feel better.  I feel happier and more energized if I am active on a regular basis verses when I am not.  Plus, your clothes will fit better!  And, seriously, who doesn’t want that?

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