How to Get in Shape

What does 'getting in shape' mean, exactly?

It's a fairly vague term that means different things to different people, For some, getting in shape simply means losing weight, for others it's building some muscle. It can also mean improving cardiovascular fitness, or even running a marathon.

Whatever the meaning, you need to realize that it will take time and effort to achieve - you didn't get out of shape overnight! However, if you are overweight and out of shape and you try to take on a vigorous fitness program then you could be headed for trouble.

To get in shape you need to do several things - you need to do them the right way - and you need to continue to do them in order to maintain your fitness.

Some of those beautifully slender models you see in magazines might have been born that way, but believe me, the majority of them had to work hard to look the way they do.

So, getting in shape implies:

Here are the main things you need to consider:

Heart Health
Training your cardio-vascular system through aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, jogging etc. is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall fitness level. Start slowly and build up - if you are running it's best to begin with a walk/run routine.

Strength
Strength training has many benefits that are often overlooked. It is a great way to lose fat, develop bone strength and build muscle. It can help preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age but especially as you grow older. Strength training will also enhance your quality of life by improving your ability to do everyday activities.

Diet
Nutrition advice is available all over the place but just sticking to the basics will pay off in the long run! Modify your diet to eat healthier meals and less fast food. Reduce the amount of meat with a high-fat content and instead eat more cold water fish like salmon or haddock. Eat plenty of whole grain foods, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Flexibility
Many mainstream fitness programs often overlook flexibility because it is not something you necessarily notice. Two people may have a similar body structure but one of them could have a far greater range of motion in their joints. Yoga exercises are ideal for improving flexibility and joint health.

Stress Reduction
High stress levels have been linked to many health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, asthma, and in extreme cases, death. If you are feeling stressed a lot you need to consider meditation, yoga or relaxation techniques.

The First Steps
Many books have been written on each of these topics alone, so it can be discouraging to know exactly where or how to begin. Well, the first step is the simplest but may also be the hardest!

You must convince yourself, and truly believe, that the only way to get in shape is to change your lifestyle and include the above fitness recommendations. Anything else is just a temporary band-aid solution.

Sure you can lose a few pounds, maybe even more, but you need to do more a lot more than that if you want to achieve long lasting health and fitness.

Talk to your doctor. Find out where you are at today and what you want to accomplish. Then re-arrange your daily routine to devote one hour to achieving your fitness goals. Take the first step today!

Track Your Progress

You are much more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, I recommend using the Fitness Journal from Personal Logs that lets you plan your weekly goals and record your progress as you go along!