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Get started now with fitness

india Updated: Jul 10, 2009 23:24 IST

If you’re a first time exercise enthusiast or someone who’s looking to get back into a structured programme, this is a must-read. It is the first in a series that will discuss the principles of health and fitness that should be a part of your life.

A progressive world has advantages and disadvantages. Conveniences like PCs, cars, phones, the Internet and fast food mean we need less effort to get things done. Unfortunately, they also make us less active and more sedentary.

Superficially, this lifestyle may seem very attractive, but many of us fail to see the fine print: A sedentary lifestyle can compromise your health. It is no coincidence that its growth is linked to an increase in negative health indicators like obesity, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and insulin resistance.

So how do we counter these negative effects while still enjoying the finer things in life? The solution is simple — exercise and healthy eating habits. This column will guide you through the process of introducing healthy habits into your routine.

Now that you’re ready to work towards a healthier you, learn how.

Define your goals

It’s important to figure out what end you’re training towards. I would advise against making “getting fit” or “losing weight” your goals. Define a more specific goal like “I want to lose 10 kg and weigh 70 kg again” or “I want to run the Mumbai Marathon next year”. These are better as they let you objectively measure your progress.

Plan your time

Lack of time is the most common excuse for not exercising. Once you’ve set your goal, plan your training programme (ask a fitness trainer for help if you don’t know how) and stick to it. Don’t be over ambitious; set realistic goals and timings.

If you know you cannot get up before 8 am, don’t fix a 5 am training time. Also, keep in mind that a training programme will rarely fit perfectly with your schedule, so make time for it. It is also important to review and remodel your schedule every two weeks.

Be honest

It might be a little hard to accept, but your age, weight and health need to be considered before going all out in an attempt to regain the physique and figure you once possessed. You may not be able to lift the 100 kg you could easily bench-press in your 20s.

Meet your doctor for a general check-up, so he can assess vital indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels and resting heart rate. Let him know that you plan to start an exercise programme. He will be able to give you valuable advice regarding your specific medical conditions and how to tailormake a training programme to suit them.

An understanding of nutrition is very important for anyone who’s on a training programme or even simply for having a healthy lifestyle. Next week, we’ll discuss the basics of nutrition so that you know where to get started.