Today's inaugural guest column/essay comes to us from e-mailer Samantha Harris. I did not find out where Samantha is from, but I did have her whip up a small bio to introduce herself to the blog and its readers.
I found your blog while I was searching through blog spot for health related blogs. A little bit about myself, I am 24 and recently earned my bachelors with an emphasis in journalism and communications. I currently don't have a blog of my own, I haven't found the time to devote to a blog of my own yet, but it is something I would like to start in the future. In my free time I enjoy doing yoga and my newest endeavor is training to do a marathon, I have always been a mediocre runner but now that I am out of college I am trying to get serious about it, wish me luck ;).
There is some very good advice in this column, so if you are tired of me talking about myself, this is a good refresher to let you know that there are several things to look out for when beginning and continuing an exercise program. OK, so without further ado, I unveil the first installment of the TFGIR Essay Series, courtesy of future marathon runner Samantha Harris.
"Full Dedication: Initial Barriers and Steps to Getting in Shape
When individuals decide to get into shape, most simply envision long runs at dawn. Few realize the careful balance between physical and emotional control a truly successful exercise regimen demands. To begin getting into shape after a long delay in physical activity takes patience, support and positive feedback. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the extraneous details revolving around fitness, these mental considerations first need to be addressed to ensure a well-intentioned promise to oneself doesn’t end in frustration and discouragement.
Unfortunately, for the beer and pizza lovers out there, curbing unhealthy dietary habits is the first step to looking and feeling better. That means trading in the excessive carbohydrates, sugars and saturated fats in exchange for healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. However, meat lovers rejoice. Lean meats and fish are also vital to nourishing all that muscle you’ll be building. For the vegetarians out there, legumes are also a great source of this needed protein.
Next on the list of lifestyle adjustment comes all the destructive habits that can get in the way of your health. That means smoking, excessive drinking and any other detrimental substance use also needs to be given up. Unfortunately, one lingering habit is enough to sabotage an entire exercise regimen. Furthermore, after exercising, individuals often feel they “owe it to themselves” to indulge in those negative dietary or lifestyle habits, which can draw you right back into the downward spiral of inactivity and poor lifestyle choices.
After correcting these dietary and lifestyle obstacles, it remains important to set yourself up for success. Instead of setting an overwhelming routine up front, it’s best to start slow with easy, measurable goals that allow you to see your progress. Furthermore, make those goals specific to ensure you stick to your routine. Finally, focus on one goal for several weeks at a time. Again, overwhelming yourself with several different training routines can discourage you to the point that the sight of a pair of sneakers makes you shudder.
Next is learning about how to stay safe when exercising. That means you must invest in the right equipment and facilities to train in. While the wrong pair of sneakers can easily lead to joint problems or a turned ankle, a poorly-maintained gym can also put you at risk. One of the biggest considerations of a facility is air quality, which can be affected by numerous toxins, including radon, carbon monoxide and asbestos. Asbestos especially, poses significant long-term dangers, causing mesothelioma symptoms that might not appear for decades. To ensure a lifetime of fitness, these lasting concerns deserve attention so you don’t do more harm than good during your training.
Once you’re on the road to fitness, keeping a record of your progress becomes increasingly important. Keeping a workout log both encourages and lets you see your progress. In addition, creating a community of supporters helps remind you that you’re not taking these health steps for just yourself, but everyone you care about as well. This support system can be informal, where you simply chat about it with a friend or your spouse, or something more organized, like a blog or online forum. However you choose to share your progress though, be sure to tell everyone your results and goals.
The final step to ensuring a lasting exercise routine involves adding additional motivation as needed. Reaching initial goals is one of the biggest destroyers of an exercise routine, which is why adding additional goals and motivation becomes so important. However, ensuring your continued success in a routine still remains secondary to making sure you’re exercising in the safest, healthiest way possible. Running at an indoor track for five miles each morning does little good if you’re also sucking in asbestos the whole time. A successful exercise regimen involves the complete physical and mental dedication needed for any great change. Don’t be fooled, deciding to live healthier involves the total revision of your lifestyle. Only by dedicating yourself fully to this challenge will you reach your goals of living healthier and feeling better.
And there you have it. If you are interested in communicating with Samantha about anything, she can be reached at email@example.com, and she might be on twitter, I didn't ask. I am on twitter at www.twitter.com/kyleseiwert, or just @kyleseiwert. Hopefully you enjoyed today's post. Feel free to email it to your friends. You never know what might inspire you or someone you know. Until next time...later.