It is a lot easier to maintain your fitness than to try to regain it once it is lost. The same applies to your muscular size and strength. If you don’t use your muscles they will become smaller and weaker and will require more effort building them back to their former condition than it would have taken to maintain them.
Fitness maintenance requires minimal effort once you have achieved a level that you are happy with. If you are happy with the level that you have reached then there is no need to continue challenging yourself to reach higher goals. Just by continuing on with fitness maintenance you will still be improving your overall health, as the more we exercise the better conditioned we get even if we are doing the same exercises with the same weights every week.
Naturally you will get more benefits if you strive to do better all the time, but sometimes it does a lot of good to have a break from trying to better yourself and just implement a program of maintenance for a while. Generally people who do this find renewed enthusiasm after a while and either change or improve their training program.
Having a record of what you looked like, and what you were able to achieve when you started your fitness program, and where you managed to progress to, is often the best motivator to get back on a fitness program if you ever take a break.
Some people like to have a complete break for a short while before resuming whereas others like to continue with light training for a period of time. Whatever works best for you is the action you should follow, keeping in mind that it is always easier to maintain fitness than to start again from a lower level.
Fitness Should be Fun:
Gaining and maintaining your fitness can be fun and should be fun.
Anything that is seen as a chore is something that most people will try to avoid and it will make it difficult to maintain for any period of time.
Unlike a job where we get paid for doing something that we might not always enjoy, the rewards from fitness are something that are difficult to place a value on. Obviously the value of good health is more important that most things in life but it is so easy to discount, that we need to look at the fitness program that we will be using to ensure it will be fun and we will continue to use it.
There are so many different ways of keeping fit and many of these can be as enjoyable as a walk in the park with your dog or a swim in the pool every day. If you are starting on a fitness program that you find difficult and unappealing from day one then there is a good possibility that you will not follow through and get the benefits that you expect from the program
You would be better off choosing a program that might not deliver the same results in the same time but one that you know you will follow through until the end. If you can find some form of fitness training that you really enjoy doing then you can make it a lifetime activity and enjoy improved health for as long as possible.
Your fitness program should be something that you look forward to when you wake each day. The fitter you get, and the more benefits that you see from your fitness the more likely you are going to enjoy what you are doing.
Your perspective of training will change, as you get fitter, so you might find that you need to reassess the program you are on and change it as your fitness level increases.
Fitness apparel is far more than a fashion statement even if many people don’t realize. Good fitness apparel is designed specifically for the various sports or fitness training requirements to assist, protect and support the individual. It might be designed to let the body breathe as in running vests or protect you from the weather.
It might be designed for support, with things like knee wraps aiding in heavy weight lifting exercises such as squats. It might be designed to eliminate chafing as in cycling shorts or allow freedom of movement with yoga and Pilates gear.
It is important that you get the correct fitness apparel for the type of fitness training that you have chosen to pursue. This will help you to perform better and will also reduce the chance of strains and injuries. You should always choose apparel that is appropriate for the climate you will be exercising in, as an incorrect choice will hinder your performance.
The correct sizing and fit is also essential and you will often find that the better quality products are a lot more comfortable and perform better than the low cost items. While you will need tighter fitting apparel for a sport such as cycling where wind resistance is an important factor, if your chosen fitness program is yoga you will be looking to buy loose fitting clothing that allows for ease of movement while performing your routines.
Once again the online sports stores often offer the best prices due to their reduced overheads and high sales volumes. You do need to be careful when buying apparel online that you know your correct sizing although you can return goods that aren’t suitable at most online stores. The fashion element, while important to make you feel good, should be secondary to getting the correct fit, support and comfort that will ensure you perform better when training or competing.
The Benefits of Fitness:
There are many benefits from regular fitness training that will have ongoing positive effects on the quality of your life. Prevention of illness is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy body.
It has been proven that regular exercise and the heightened levels of health that develops from this exercise can help to reduce the incidence of diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and strokes.
Exercise can reduce hypertension and many other ailments.
As well as this, fitness training can help people have a more positive outlook on life and improve their self-confidence. Regular exercise releases endorphins in the body that help to fight the symptoms of depression and give us a feeling of happiness. It only takes a little more than 10 minutes of continuous exercise for the body to start releasing endorphins.
Another chemical that is increased in the body during and after exercise is serotonin. This occurs in the central nervous system and is also responsible for making us feel happier and reducing the possibility of depression.
Serotonin also assists in getting better sleep and that in turn helps with better workouts through increased energy.
Fitness can become addictive as we start to realize these benefits of feeling better in both the mind and the body. The more fitness training we do the more of these ‘positive’ chemicals are released into our body and we get happier and healthier with each passing day.
By reshaping our body with exercise, and particularly resistance training, we feel better about ourselves and this also helps to build self-esteem and self-confidence. This flows over into all aspects of life and we begin to find that even work and family life benefit from the more positive energy that fitness training brings. Regular exercise is the key to success as energy builds with consistency and this make the training easier to handle and more enjoyable.
Personalized Fitness Programs:
Whether you are using resistance training, yoga, pilates, aerobic fitness training or one of the many methods to get fit and lead a healthier life there is one important ingredient that you must have and that is a personalized fitness program.
No two people have the same requirements to reach their optimum health and this has to be represented in the choice of fitness program and even within that choice of the specific actions that are necessary. By this I mean that, if for instance you choose resistance training for your fitness program, you will need a personalized program of exercises that will suit your body type, the condition of your health, your time restraints and so forth.
The same will apply to a yoga program. While you might join a yoga class for your preferred form of exercise, you will need to place more emphasis on those exercises that will assist the areas of your body that need help the most. The reason for this need to have a personalized program is simply because you will want to get the best results in the shortest time to get to a good level of health and fitness without losing motivation.
There is nothing less motivating than a lack of progress and that is precisely what will happen if you don’t have a fitness program that addresses all your needs. There are programs that will serve as the basis for the majority of people but they will need to be adjusted and modified to personal requirements. Keeping a fitness diary will help as it will show which areas are progressing well and where changes will need to be made to get more improvement. The information from the data that you record will be the source of your fast track to health and fitness.
Finding Time for Fitness Training:
With the demands of modern life we tend to neglect the most important things, like the condition of our body and our health. How often do we use the excuse that we just don’t have the time for fitness training?
By taking the time to plan our lives we will always allow for our heath and find the time for some form of fitness. This time is essential to rejuvenate the body and the mind and you will find that setting time aside for fitness will actually help you get more done during your working day.
The added benefits of reduced stress will help you to work better and stay happier. Along with this will be a reduction in the time that you might have off due to illness. With the abundance of good home gym and fitness equipment this has allowed us to train at all hours of the day or night and the convenience of this means there really is no excuse to avoid dedicating 20 – 30 minutes three times per week to fitness.
If you find that you can’t spare that much time each week then you need to take a serious look at your lifestyle as it is one that will lead to ill health in the long term and a reduction in the quality of your life. By getting out of bed earlier a few mornings a week and training before you go to work, your energy levels will begin to increase after a while and your metabolism will remain at a higher level throughout the day which will assist in burning an extra fat that you might be carrying around. At the end of the day you will be able to rest in a more relaxed and stress free manner and have a better nights sleep.
Monitoring Your Fitness:
There are many ways we can monitor our fitness and this is essential for a number of reasons. For most people the biggest benefit they will get from monitoring their fitness will be the encouragement they will get from seeing the progress from their efforts.
There is nothing more inspiring for someone trying to lose weight than to get on the scales and find that they have shed several pounds since the last time they were weighed. Or for a bodybuilder to measure their muscles to find that they have gained an inch or two here or there. This measured progress can increase energy levels more than a bucket full of vitamins.
The mind is a powerful tool in fitness training and by feeding it positive information that can actually be measured will ensure continued enthusiasm for maintaining a fitness regime. One thing that everyone should be aware of however is to leave sufficient time between measuring progress to ensure that the body has had time to make some progress.
It is not a good policy to weight yourself everyday, as there will be fluctuations where you could appear to gain weight slightly from one day to the next. It is also not good to measure your muscles every day either as they take time to grow and big increases will not be seen overnight.
This can be discouraging if you are constantly looking for measures of progress and not getting them soon enough.
Sometimes measurements can be deceiving as with resistance training and weight loss. While we are burning fat with a resistance training program we will also be building muscle so although the weight might not be changing when we stand on the scales, the fat to muscle ratio might have changed quite considerably and our body might be leaner, yet still weigh the same. This is where taking photos of our body once a month will show a better picture of progress and offer an alternative measure of our success.
Simple Fitness Action Steps You Can Take:
For many people the hardest part of any fitness program is getting started.
Sometimes we place too much pressure on ourselves and rather than doing something, no matter how small that might be, we end up doing nothing at all.
Here are some steps to help you get started. The first thing to do is to not place any great expectations on what you want to achieve. Even simply walking to the local shops will improve your fitness and this might be all that you need to do for a while just to get into the mood to take your fitness to the next level.
Find a friend who also wants to get fitter and ask them to walk with you.
Step up the pace after a while and maybe even record the time it takes to complete your walks. All these small changes can eventually lead to bigger and better things.
Stretching is something that can be done almost anywhere and at any time and it is good to get into the habit of stretching, particularly before and after exercise. Stretching increases your flexibility and reduces the chance of injury. It makes training easier and therefore you will get more benefit from the time that you are training.
Join a gym and encourage your training friends to join with you or get a home gym and invite them to train with you at home. You can workout at your own pace and having a training partner will be good for both safety with helping to control weights and encouragement to train better. Get inspirational fitness magazines and videos that will give you something to strive for, and last but certainly not least, eat the right food so you have the energy to perform well at all times.
Fitness is a Lifetime Investment:
The time we put into our fitness at any time throughout our life is an investment in our future. Just as we try to build up our financial wealth, we should be doing the same with our health, as this will determine the quality of life as we age.
Consider the compound effect that smoking can have over the lifetime of a smoker and how detrimental it can be to their health. The opposite effect occurs when we do any form of fitness training even if it is only for a few minutes a day, or for short periods a few times a week. We don’t have to do hours of long intensive weight training 7 days a week to get fit. To lose weight we don’t need to go on strict diets that are too hard to maintain.
It takes a long time for most people to get fat and this usually occurs from eating just a little too much of the wrong foods too often. If we are to reverse that situation and only reduce our calories by 100 per day, which is something that most people can achieve without too much difficulty, then the effect after a year or so can be quite dramatic.
If we were to walk for twenty minutes three or fours times a week, we would be a lot healthier after a year of such exercise. All these small changes won’t encroach on our lifestyle to any extent but they can make the difference between normal activity when we age and the inability to get the most out of life.
The sooner we start to make these changes the more health we are investing in for our future. One of the best things about easy fitness like this is the fact that it gets even easier the more we do it.
Fitness is Often More About Attitude Than Anything Else:
It is our attitude that often determines our level of fitness. It is our attitude that will determine whether we want to sit on the couch or get out to the gym for a workout. The way we feel about our health and what we believe we have to give up in order to maintain it will be the deciding factor for our fitness.
If we believe that we have to miss out on some pleasures in life, such as watching the television or drinking with our friends then the price we have to pay for our fitness will seem too great. Alternatively, if there are activities that we find can give us immediate satisfaction, and more satisfaction than long term good health, then often the choices we make will be determined by those activities rather than the ability to still be able to do those activities as we age.
It is not until it is too late that the wrong decisions, made because of our attitude towards health and fitness, determine the quality of life we are left with. If only we could turn back the clock.
We need to look at our attitude towards health and ask ourselves the questions we would ask others if we were giving them advice.
Would you recommend someone starts smoking or drinking excessive alcohol if they were asking for advice on finding health for life?
Not likely – Yet we make decisions like this every day that we will pay for dearly in the future.
Change your attitude and you can change your health, and in doing so you can expect to live life to the best of your ability. Exercise builds energy and energy is the source of all life. We have the opportunity to take this energy that is available, and all it takes to get our share is a positive attitude and action.