If you’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve made and broken resolutions for getting fit, you’re not alone. The majority of U.S. adults don’t meet basic guidelines for the minimum amount of exercise to stay fit and healthy. There are many reasons for this, ranging from lack of time to the absence of facilities like gyms nearby. Staying motivated can also be a major hurdle. However, because exercise is one of the key components of a healthy lifestyle, it can be important to make the effort to take the first steps to getting fit.
How much exercise do you need?
Getting enough exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. A basic fitness routine gets your blood flowing, removes toxins and bumps up your metabolism. It also gives you a more positive outlook on life, and produces feeling of self-confidence that helps you tackle challenges in every area of your life. When you exercise you also sleep better, and gradually develop cravings for healthy foods rather than unhealthy ones full of sugar and fat.
With so many visible and obvious benefits of getting fit, why is it so difficult to get even the minimum amount of exercise? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults in the age range of 18 and 64 should get a minimum of 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate physical activity each week. This is the equivalent of 75 minutes or one and a half hours of of vigorous physical activity. However, the majority of American adults don’t meet this standard.
Why is it so difficult to find time to exercise?
While the exercise goals defined above are easy to reach, very few adults actually manage to do so. Studies have found that just about one-third of all adults get the minimum amount of physical exercise needed each week to stay healthy. And fewer than 5% of U.S. adults get the recommended daily 30 minutes of physical activity. There are many reasons for this.
To start with, schools rarely give much importance to health and physical fitness. Physical education is a required subject in K-12 in only six states. This indifference to physical activity continues into the adult years. Lack of time, the absence of training facilities like gyms and fitness centers, and the difficulty in staying motivated all contribute to the problem.
Getting fit can be fun
In fact, you don’t need any special equipment or training to get started. The best way to start and maintain a fitness routine is by taking small steps. These will produce a visible difference in your feelings of health and well being which will carry you forward with their own momentum. You can start by exercising at home, with a routine that includes stretches as well as aerobic exercise. You can adapt stretches from yoga and Pilates, and use exercise videos to develop an aerobic fitness routine with your favorite music.
When you’re ready to take it outdoors, you can look for walks and running tracks in nearby parks. Whether you live in an urban or rural area, there are plenty of locations to go walking or running. When planning your road to getting fit, keep in mind that boredom and plateauing can be a real problem. Varying your routine keeps things from getting boring and keeps your body from getting used to your routine. Once you’ve started you’ll find that you want to continue on track to reclaiming your fit and healthy self.
There are many barriers to fitness, such as lack of time, training facilities, and motivation. By starting small and taking small steps, you can build your fitness routine get you on track for a healthy lifestyle.