Fitness Trail: Crawl, walk and run to healthy philosophy
The Fitness Trail
You have thought about it. You may have even taken the occasional 10-minute walk, in addition to walking the dog. This is known as the “contemplation” or “crawl” stage of behavioral change.
At this point, you want to begin with baby steps and start with a five to 10 minute stroll several times a week. Basically, just get out there and move, perhaps with a friend, spouse or your pet.
There is a plethora of health and social benefits to frequent strolls, such as improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and better moods and self-control. (This is also a good time to mention proper nutrition is the other half of the health-fitness equation.)
Once you begin to experience these benefits, you might consider moving into the “walking” stage. Remember, before moving on, that every breath you take, every step you take, matters. You get credit for it all — honor it and feel good about it.
time to Walk
Once you have been “crawling” for a while and are beginning to feel better about life, yourself and the world around you, you may be experiencing elevated energy levels, your clothes fit better, and you are making wiser food choices and considering expanding your fitness horizons. This is known as the “action” or “walking” stage of any behavioral change.
You should choose the frequency, intensity, time or the type (i.e. F.I.T.T. Principle) component to your current “program” and make one small change. Perhaps you will add a day of walking to your program increasing the frequency, or you choose to increase the intensity a bit by adding a hill or two in the walk.
Since you have been walking for 10 minutes each excursion, now may be the time to increase the duration to 15 minutes. What matters is that you avoid changing more than one of the components of the F.I.T.T. Principle at a time.
It’s important to take it slow and make manageable changes. If you overreach and change too much too soon, you could be susceptible to overuse injuries or burnout, and the subsequent dropout syndrome. Avoid those pitfalls by taking small steps, even though you not crawling anymore. Think of it like this: Less is more — go for quality experiences.
ready to Run
Once you’re consistently adhering to an exercise program, you have chosen wisely. Increasing the frequency of your walks has worked very well, and remaining at this level for 8-12 weeks proved to be an excellent choice.
Then you added a little more time and eventually intensity to your program. Once that process worked beautifully, you decided to try a little something different, like a cycling class or integrating muscular strength training into your program, and a wise choice with this component of physical fitness is crucial.
Now, you are in or quickly approaching the “maintenance” or “running” stage of behavioral change.
Exercise has become a part of your life, not just an occasional stroll or a frequent walk, but a complete health and fitness program, which will yield more lifelong benefits and positive outcomes than just about any other behavioral modification.
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