Health: Easing into Physical Fitness

The idea of being healthy is, for better or worse, synonymous with being Physically Fit.

While a major aspect of health has to do with the mental and dietary aspects, this post focuses on breaking a sweat and feeling the burn!

Maintaining our fitness is increasingly important as our bodies collect life experience. Jack Lalanne, the gentleman in the photos, advocated this his entire life and was a prime example of how exercise positively affects health. This great Ted Talk, “How To Live To 100+”, also features communities whose elders never stop their physically active jobs and are consequently able to keep-at-it into their 100’s.

The long-term advantages are undeniable, but maybe you don’t find doing physical labour at 102 incredibly motivating for tomorrow’s pre-work jog. Fair.

Luckily, as anyone who has felt the energy increase after a few weeks of exercise knows, short-term improvements can be big a player in staying motivated and in your overall happiness. You will start with a few gruelling jogs but, before you know it, you’re bouncing up the stairs in your house.

However, for those not familiar with this short-term inspiration, or for those of you interested in different avenues of physical fitness, here are a few things to keep in mind, and a few suggestions, to help you on your way to being the push-up champion of the retirement home! (kidding, anyone who can chop their own firewood won’t need a retirement home).

oldjack
Life-long fitness enthusiast Jack Lalanne–91!– holding his wife.

Start slow.
planning to exercise 7 days a week to start is going inspire a deep, ugly hatred for it. Exercising every other day, or a 1-on-2-off schedule is more ideal, and realistic. 

Listen to your body. 
This is an another reason to start slow, but it remains important no matter how many years you exercise for. If your muscles are sore–or your joints!–take an extra day off. Fitness has to be a long-term goal. This is not only important for the long-term health of your body, but also in the short-term your body is less able to fight others things like colds or infections if its exhausted from over-training. 

Eat Well.
I say well instead of healthy because cheat days are important. Just like how training 7 days a week can wear on you physically, eating spinach salads for weeks straight can destroy your enthusiasm in a hurry. But cheat meals are an occasional treat, healthy eating is important to your recovery, reaching goals, and staying energized through the rest of your day. 

Most importantly, enjoy it.
Even if you’re excited about results if you’re dreading something that’s going to make it more challenging and bring a lot of negative associations with exercise. Especially if you’re just getting into physical fitness or getting back into shape, being to exercise doing is important, and easier than you might think!

Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to a gym, picking up some heavy(-ish) things, putting them back, then spend 20 miserable minutes on a stair-climber. (keep in mind that this is a good strategy if you enjoy it!)

There is an endless list of other activities that exercise your body just as well.
Hiking. Tennis. Table Tennis! Swimming. Skating. Kayaking. Martial Arts. Painting the house. Helping a friend move. Wrestling with a dog. Running after the bus. 


Some of those may not be considered universally fun, but variety is the spice of life! Another aspect that’s important to remember, and why most people begin with jogging, is that all this exercise is best made as convenient as possible. 

Eliminating excuses like “I don’t want to go alllll the way to the gym/yoga study/pool,” will play a big role in helping you stick to it. 

Having a workout partner will also help keep you motivated to exercise (or at least in fear of guilt).

Other than that, making a schedule and dedicating yourself to it is a great way to get into a routine that makes everything a little easier.

youngjack
A Young Jack Lalanne exercising on the beach with his wife, Elaine.

If you’re looking to join a gym, yoga studio, martial arts class, rowing club, etc., simply googling,  “__(activity)__ near me,” is a great way to see what is nearby, and to look into the cost for memberships and what amenities you want.

For those of you in Vancouver or Coastal BC here are a few options: 

Gyms:
Steve Nash
Many locations around the lower mainland and some on the island. This gym has 3 membership levels, but even the lowest (Silver, $45/m) gets you access to 16 of their 21 locations, and many of these have alternative fitness classes such as yoga, stationary cycling, and more. 

GoodLife Fitness
This gym is nation wide and offers a lot of the same services including classes, trainers, and varying amenities.

Yoga Studios:
Moksha Yoga
This studio is international, with many privately owned locations in Canada and along the West Coast. They offer cheaper rates for 1-month trials, a very full class schedule so you can easily balance it with life.

Karma Yoga

This studio is downtown Vancouver, and it has a culture that focuses on giving back to the community. That means, instead of memberships and drops in rates, there is a donation bin. This is a great place to test out your hidden talent for handstands and maybe meet some really nice people. 

If anyone has tricks, tips, or recent personal experience with easing into exercise, I’d love to hear about it! Share it in a comment at the bottom of this page!

Questions about exercise?
Enter it in the contact box directly below and maybe I can help or direct you towards the answer.

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