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Body Recommendations & Considerations

Recommendations and considerations to assist you in making your physical activity choices.


Running on beach


General Body Practice Recommendations


Activity Journal


Tips for choosing a Fitness Program


Learn more about enhancing your Daily Body Practice with the following information:




General Body Practice Recommendations

Determine your fitness goals: Keeping your fitness level in mind, think about what benefits you would like to achieve from a fitness program. Perhaps you want to lose weight, prepare for a 5K race or get ready for a favorite sport. Having clear goals can help you stay motivated.


Set achievable goals. Set some achievable goals that have to do with participation and effort, not necessarily how much weight you can lift, miles you can bike or pounds you've lost. If you stumble in your efforts, regroup and immediately begin again. Decide how you'll celebrate when you arrive at your goals.


Take it slow when getting started. The best thing you can do to ease yourself into a fitness plan is to take a moderate approach. Asking too much too soon leads to frustration and injuries. Start with what you feel comfortable, go at your own pace, and keep your expectations realistic. For example, training for a marathon when you've never run before may be a bit daunting, but you could give yourself the goal of participating in an upcoming 5k walk for charity.


Some activity is always better than none. A small amount of exercise can help you maintain or get into more of an active routine. Try to continue the minimal amount of exercise until you can gradually add more days. Focus on movement more than calories burned.


Variety. Schedule workouts of varying intensities (try an interval workout one day and an endurance workout the next) and different activities to keep yourself challenged.


Be sure to take time off. While exercise is good, too much can be discouraging - or even lead to injury. Keep exercise times appropriate to your fitness level and be sure to take a few days off per week to let your body rest and allow your muscles to heal. (After strength training, 48 hours rest is recommended so that the muscles can repair themselves.)


Get Started Forming the Habit: You could probably make a nice long list of excuses to skip your workout and, though you may not be able to get rid of this voice entirely, knowing it's there and how to deal with it is crucial for making the right choice. Use these tricks for making it easier to get started with your workout:

  • Make up your mind: Simply make up your mind that you're going to workout, no matter what. When you fully commit to what you're doing, it's easier to shut down internal excuses and just get moving. Just do it, like you would your bills or taxes.
  • Don't Negotiate with yourself: Rather than go through the argument (will I or won't I?) commit to simply warming up. This tactic works well to motivate yourself on days when you feel tired - simply promise yourself you'll do a nice long warm up and if you still don't want to exercise, you can stop. Remind yourself that the real worst thing is not trying at all.
  • Take action: when you're lying in bed trying to figure out if you'll get up and exercise or not, just get up and put on your workout clothes.  Whatever you mind is doing, point your physical body in the direction of your workout and you may find you're on the right track to getting started. Mentally point yourself to acceptance instead of frustration or anger at working out.


Expect ups and downs. Don't be discouraged if you skip a few days (or even a few weeks in the future). It happens. Just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.


Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it's properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.


Be mindful of your purpose. Don't just go through the motions but figure out what you're trying to accomplish.

  • Remind yourself of your goal and make sure your workout is helping you to meet that purpose.
  • Ask yourself if you Do you want to go faster than you did before? Go longer?


Check in with yourself. Don't just zone out but, instead, check in with yourself throughout the workout to see how you're doing and if you're working at the right intensity.



Tips for choosing a Fitness Program

Fitness programs abound, from yoga and Pilates to step aerobics and boot camps, all of which can be performed at home or in a gym. Finding the right fitness program may be the key to ensuring you continue to stay active. Review and consider the following when choosing  your program:

Assess your fitness level: You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But assessing and recording baseline fitness can help you set your fitness goals and measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition, determine and record the following:

  • Your pulse rate before and immediately after a one-mile walk
  • How long it takes to walk one mile
  • How many push-ups you can do at a time
  • How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
  • Your waist circumference at the level of your navel
  • Your body mass index (Instructions for this calculation can be found in the Food Daily Practice Instructions)
  • You may also want to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have any chronic medical conditions.

Consider your likes and dislikes: Next think about the types of physical activities you enjoy most. After all, a fitness program doesn't need to be drudgery. You're more likely to keep up with a fitness program you enjoy. If you love riding your bicycle, consider a cycling class. If you have a blast on the dance floor, an aerobics class or DVD that includes dance moves would be a good bet. If you're a social person, a gym or health club membership may be the ticket. If you prefer to exercise alone or you find health clubs intimidating, exercises you can do at home may be best.

Think variety: Varying your activities - or cross-training - can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training also reduces the risk of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. As we plan your fitness program we will focus on cardiovascular activity but you should consider alternating among activities that emphasize different parts of your body - Pilates and strength training, for example.

Do the math: Make sure your fitness choices are in line with your budget. If you would prefer a gym membership or home exercise equipment but find them too pricey, we will help you consider cheaper options for getting in shape. You can base a fitness program around brisk daily walks and inexpensive jump ropes, hand-held weights or resistance bands. Many recreation departments offer discounted fitness classes to local residents, and many schools open their pools to the public for inexpensive lap swimming.