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Friday, May 21, 2010

Get Going!

Fitness post time.. This post is for all of us who want to start activity.. think about it, talk about it.. and really want to... but never actually start.

I have done this myself. A lot! ;) And I have seen others do it too. For me this procrastination usually results from the fact that I am uncertain, perhaps undecided.. about whether I really really should do it. And if I do it, how do I do it? Here I have noticed that I often tend to mix whether I want to do something with whether I can do it.

Do you want to start getting active? Decide. Don't think about whether you can. (That is the next question, not this one.) Do you want to? Sit down and think about it. And then decide once and for all. However, that's easier said than done. I would sit down and think about it sometimes.. but I would still be undecided. The fact that there was no pressure, no health reason, no really important reason to start was primarily why I just wouldn't do anything about it. And there is no one who will be able to change this. You will take the decision only at your own time. And that's ok. Recognize that time when it comes and remember this post then.

If you have decided, and your decision is, "Yes, I want to get active and be fit," then you have taken your first step toward fitness! The decision has been taken. And your decisions are firm decisions! You will stick by them! But watch yourself now... because now is when the question "Can I be active?" comes in. This will bring with it a host of issues that you will soon use as excuses to get out of your resolve. Don't let this happen! You have decided to start on the road to being fit! And so you will start! Come what may. You will find solutions to the problems. And you will get going!

Uncertainty: You have no idea how to go about this "get active" business. You don't know anyone who runs or goes to the gym. You have never seen the inside of a gym other than in movies. Yoga.. you have no idea how to do it. So your intention is real and firm, but the path is unclear.

You cannot accomplish any project when you are un-informed. Where do you start? What do you do? Run? Swim? Walk? Get informed! Read up about fitness activities. There are many many things you can do. Pick an activity that suits you. Read up about your own health and health goals. Once your health is clear, you will be able to discard certain activities. Maybe you are pregnant and running is not for you. Other things may influence your choice of activity. Perhaps you have no access to swimming pools. Could yoga be preferable? Look around you, search on the net. There are classes, forums and groups of people in every city involved in some form of activity. There are fitness DVDs, online videos on youtube and other sites that will instruct you on yoga, aerobics and other such forms of at-home exercise. You will not find solutions unless you look for them. Do away with your uncertainty, get informed.

Time: This is another important reason why most people cannot manage to get started. You want to start, but really have no time. Well, fitness does not have to be time consuming. If you want to do it, just spend 15 minutes every day. Do a short 10-15 minute workout. Look on the net.. there are lots of DVDs and programs that promote 10 minute workouts. 10 minutes each day is better than nothing.

Another way to do this is to make extra time in your day. This is harder, but definitely more satisfying in terms of a workout. Get up earlier than you normally do. Just half an hour early. Those 30 extra minutes you get, are enough for a quick 1 or 2 mile run or walk around the block. This is what I have to do. I now wake up at 5.30am instead of 6.30am. Gives me a whole extra hour to get my run. And I don't do this every day. I give myself extra sleep every alternate day. I really need that sleep. But I steal that extra one hour on alternate days to get my runs in. I find that most women prefer this. Once the kids and the household is up there is no time for yourself. After a workout at the very beginning of your day you are ready to tackle anything that today brings you!

Only you can figure out your schedule. If this is important to you, then you will make time for it. Either go for short workout sessions that fit somewhere in your busy day or go for an early morning regimen, whatever works for you.

Cost: "So much money on gym membership! Gym clothes and shoes! I don't think this is permanent anyway. Just a passing thought today. In two days my motivation will be gone. Not worth it." These were my thoughts. So, initially I used my old sneakers to walk. Even started running in them. The gym access was in a friend's apartment complex for free. So I lucked out there. But when I stopped getting access to the gym I just started running outdoors. (Fortunately by then the weather did permit me to run outdoors!) Over 20-25 days I realized that I was enjoying running. It was NOT a passing thing! It improved my day significantly! So then I did shell out some cash to buy good shoes which are essential to prevent common running injuries. In fact, I feel that I will now often run just so as to justify the expense of the shoes! :D

So, I would say that you have to start first. Then over time you will be able to figure out whether running or walking or yoga is suitable for you, whether you enjoy it. That is when you can choose to spend the bare minimum you need for that activity. So be creative, you will find a solution to money matters.

Fear: "What if something hurts! What if I injure myself! I am fine now. I don't want to start some stupid fitness mania and break my leg or sprain my back acting like I'm a PT Usha!" This may sound melodramatic, but is actually a very valid concern. You want to research all possible aches and pains that may be normal for a beginner in whatever activity you choose. Otherwise any casual soreness or muscle pain will be an easy excuse for you to quit. It is the biggest relief when other runners tell you, "Sore shins for a beginner are normal. You are either running too fast or running on very hard ground. Try running on grass. Ice sore shins, they will stop hurting as they get used to the running." Read up, meet other people who are involved in your activity. Try to learn more about the sport you pick up. That is the only way to ward off this fear.

And accept that some amount of achy soreness will be there at the beginning. And with knowledge and experience you will recognize the difference between soreness and injury. Start very very slow. Over a few weeks your body will get accustomed to the stresses of exercise and let you push yourself more. That is when you ramp up a little more. Push just a tiny bit every week. Pain and injury are not enjoyable. Caution is always good. But fear will not hold you back!

All the other stuff: "Oh other people in the gym are much fitter than me! People will look at me when I run. I run like a duck! I am not going alone.. I have no company. Swim suits look cheap. I look bad in gym clothes. I don't want to sweat. There is a guy at the gym who makes me uncomfortable. There are these girls who are always laughing when I am there (i.e. laughing at me). My friends will think I am acting too smart. My bai will tell people in the building that I do aerobics and all!"

I have given 95% of the above excuses myself. So I am quite confident some of you have also thought these things! It's ok.. admit to yourself.. no need to tell anyone. But at least some of the above things are a matter of our own self-consciousness. Swim-suits, people's opinions... don't think about these things. Maybe they are laughing at you, maybe they aren't. You will never know. But paying heed to such things will certainly ensure that you will lose your goal!! You cannot let that happen. And you won't let stupid problems get in the way. You will aim for your goal and head straight towards it. Everything in your way can go to.... !!!

Some of these things however will be true problems. Safety, for instance. Please be safe. If you are running outside, run in safe neighborhoods or parks or places where you will see other people going for walks, runs and rides. Even when going to a gym, go at times when there are a lot of people. Otherwise find another gym. You want to focus on your workout, not worry about who might bother you. So it really should be safe. If gyms and the outdoors are not safe for you, there are plenty of at-home routines you can do.

And yes, people may be slightly resentful. Some people may not like that you are fit and they are not. I simply don't tell too many people about my running. I find that works best for me. Even casual talk can be misinterpreted as boasting. Don't talk too much about it. Just do it. And even then if people don't like it, then it's ok. You can't take care of everything. Take care of yourself, your family and your life. That is enough. Let the neighbors be jealous, let your bai bitch about your aerobics. Let it be. You are getting strong!! So they can bring it on! You can take it!

Now I must admit that I am not as strong and resolute as all of the above might imply. :D And you don't need to be either. Pretend to be resolute. It's ok. Really! Pretend to yourself. You have an iron will! Say that to yourself! Cheer yourself! Push yourself! Just start! Get going! You can do it... and so can I! :)

Info links: I am posting a few links in this post. Just some general suggestions for someplace to start:

1) Here is a link to a short video I found on youtube. Just a quick 3 minute walk-at-home jig that I have done occasionally when I am really tired of sitting a lott but I don't have time to actually go out for a run. Hope it rejuvenates you and sparks your ignition! (It has loud music, please don't click on this at work!!)

Credits: This video is from and the user claims to be a legit affiliation to this lady (Leslie Sansone). I cannot vouch for anyone. Let's hope that's true.

2) The following are good search words to look up videos online: Leslie Sansone (above) obviously brings up a lot of vidoes. Yoga Today on youtube is a channel which seems to have a lot of yoga videos. I have occasionally done easy stretching from there. There are also other searches you can do for "walk at home" or "step aerobics" or really anything that strikes your fancy. Dabble in these online videos a little. Can never say how much is legal and how much isn't. So figure out what you like and then buy a legitimate CD or DVD for whatever suits your preference. (Say no to piracy!)

3) There is a lot of activity on the net regarding walking. I never knew how seriously people walk! Active has a lot of info about many such things as walking, cycling, hiking, swimming, etc. Check out links to any of those from the home page. Also search generally on the net. Lots of info out there.

4) Running: This is stuff I have done, so I know all of this is perfectly legitimate! :) Runner's World is an online site that has a lot of reading for Running. This place will give you a lot of info about beginning running. About also has a lot of general info about running. Really I cannot stress enough how important it is to read about it before you jump into it. Here is a video about good running posture and posture and tips for running on a treadmill.

They have a beginner's program on Runner's World. I started out by doing a Couch to 5K program (c25k) which is on another site called Cool Running. This other c25k page also has a lot of links that are helpful if you are doing c25k. These "programs" are really just articles some experienced coaches have written suggesting common training schedules for beginners to start running.. For example: Week 1: Run for 60 seconds, walk for 2 minutes, repeat for 15 minutes.. Week 2: Run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, etc etc. They are free to read. Almost all of these sites also have runner's forums. If you have questions, other experienced runners will respond on those forums. I mean it, they will help you! Just ask.

I also used Robert Ullrey's podcasts for c25k which were very helpful in keeping up the running. These podcasts also happen to be free (which was nice). Robert Ullrey is some guy who started running using the C25K program at the age of 43 to celebrate his birthday and made up music CDs for himself to know when 60 seconds or 2 minutes were up. Helps keep track of and pass time when you are running. Very nice of him to put them up online for us newbie runners to use! Sometimes, completely unknown people do such random nice-things and that helps so many other random, unknown people! :)

On that note this post ends. Hope that info was helpful to you. I will see you all around! Cheers! :)


Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Wow SS, what an informative post. Thanks for all the links, video, information everything. It will surely help. I try to do some little, but not much. I have so much of baby weight (my son is 8 months old) that it is not even funny :(

SS blogs here said...

Hey Priya.. I'm sure you look lovely! :) And aren't you already on that 30 minutes Curves program? Is it good? I don't know much about it. (Maybe you could post about that.) You are doing a great job! Weight loss takes time. Have patience. Don't stop. Just keep doing it. And tell us about it. Company is the best motivation! You will never stop if you have friends with you. Besides baby-weight is the happiest weight evvver! :)

Cham said...

That is a great going, I already feel ur will power babe! I will just go for an hour walk, but took a break due to some ankle injury (in winter). But now i started slowly my routine walk to watch any pain.
This post is really motivating and good one :)

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Cham! Will power.. hehe.. it's more that I am my own cheerleader! :D Sorry to hear about your ankle injury. You are wise to watch and re-start very carefully. Good luck and best wishes!

Nupur said...

Great post! Kudos to you for bringing up this discussion. I drag myself to the gym 2-3 days a week and walk the dog a lot everyday, but I know I should be getting more exercise. Thanks for the inspiration.

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Nupur. You sound like you are doing good. Don't know if it's just the gym (place) itself that is dull. I don't like it either. I have to make up games to play in my head if I go to the gym.. "Run when the news segment is on.. walk when ads are on.. stock analysis run faster.. weather slow down.." etc etc. :D

M D said...

You seem to be a fitness trainer, are you!!! Aaaah, a nice post on fitness!!!

SS blogs here said...

Lol.. MD.. That is by far the coolest profession anyone could have suggested for me!! :D :D These are just my own experiences. Since I am an average person, I can be quite confident that all other average people will have gone through the same! So take it all with a pinch of salt! :) Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

Malar Gandhi said...

That is a well-written informative post, many would find it useful. I am a fitness freak...right from my childhood, never gave up my work out for any lame excuses, even after minor surgery, I healed up real quick and went to gym.:)

Jagruti said...

first tome here, came through Nupur's blog...lovely space and beautiful posts..Liked your Ladoo recipe...glad I found your blog

cheers..please do visit me if time permits..

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Malar.. It's very nice to hear about someone who has liked exercise right from the start. Commendable to stick with it for years together, and also rally around after surgery! Good commitment! :) Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Jagruti. Nice to see you hear. I'm sure we will bump into each other in future too. Cheers!

SpicyTasty said...

Hey, this is a very useful and informative post. I love to do workouts, it makes keep fresh and active all day.

Sushma Mallya said...

Your a great inspiration SS...i love to be active and fit so i usually go for walk daily for 20 minutes atleast

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, SpicyTasty (I understand that you are multiple authors) :) I agree that workouts keep us fresh! And once you get used to that feeling you don't give it up!

Sushma.. (blush blush).. you are too kind. Glad to hear you walk! Walking is really an amazing way to get your heart pumping.

Cheers and thanks for your comments!