People always ask “What do I do to get in shape?” They ask questions like “What if I do 100 push-ups a day?” “If I'm doing 10 push-ups every day how long will be till I see results?” Or they ask “If I am doing sit ups and push-ups will my body change?
While these are not stupid questions, they are not the best way to go about getting in shape. If somebody has not been active at all I give them a couple of simple guidelines.
What is the very first thing to do to start getting in shape if you have not been active in a very long time or are very sedentary in your life? It’s simple; you start to move. What is the first thing we learn how to do as a child? We start to move. First we crawl then we learn how to walk. It comes before learning anything else.
People tend to discount walking as something they do every day. A necessity to get around in life. While that is true, there is much more to it. Walking not only is the way to be mobile it can be a form of exercise that serves many advantages in the body.
Now I'm not talking about sauntering along, I'm talking about a brisk pace. If you saunter along it will get you moving but it will not increase your heart rate enough to give you any exercise benefits.
If you walk at a brisk pace many things change in the body. First of all your heart rate raises. Without your heart rate raising it you would will not benefit your cardiovascular system. So a brisk pace is necessary in order for your heart to benefit.
Your body temperature will raise as you exercise. This higher body temperature in turn increases your metabolism. An increase in metabolism results in an increase in calorie burn. That results in weight loss if your intake doesn't increase.
With your body warm, many parts of your body will move better. Your joints will be warmed up much like car is warmed up as you start to drive it. In the joints is a substance called synovial fluid. This fluid is a viscous fluid which keeps your joints lubricated. Its like oil for your body.
When this fluid is warm it flows much easier much like oil does. When it is cold its much thicker and doesn’t flow as well. As you start to warm your body, the fluid warms up and you have more mobility.
Walking will strengthen your bones and muscles. Your muscles will not atrophy and instead will functionally strengthen to support your new activity. It will not increase muscle size greatly but will convert your body into lean body mass. In addition, weight bearing exercises such as walking increase your bone density and strength.
Walking is a low impact way to increase your metabolism, make your heart healthy, and increase your mobility. As a low impact activity it does all those things without damaging your joints and with a low risk of injury. This is one of the great arguments for starting with walking as your first form of exercise from a sedentary lifestyle. You can start and then continue to exercise without having injuries sideline and interrupt you from your progress.
The second thing that is important when starting; drinking lots of water. Water gives so many benefits to the body. I described many benefits of drinking water in a previous blog post and so will not go into great detail here about them. Suffice it to say it is very important to drink a lot of water to compliment your new level of activity.
Related: Water life source!
Do these two things for a month and a guarantee you will feel better, your body will start to change, and you will increase your self esteem.
Once you have started on your fitness journey you can progress to the next level. I know that a month seems like a long time to just walk and drink water but I promise you it will go quickly and prepare you for the next step. I know this from personal experience.
If you are inactive the best way to get started on a fitness journey is to start walking, walking at a brisk pace to be considered exercise. It increases your metabolism, makes you stronger and more limber and increases your blood circulation. What's to stop you from getting started today?
Happy lifting and strive to arrive!!