Setting Fitness Goals
By Jonathon Hardcastle
Many people make the mistake of setting their fitness goals
too high when they embark on an exercise program. This leads
them to abandon their plans out of frustration and impatience.
Setting manageable goals is key to maintaining a fitness
program over time.
If you have been completely sedentary you need to start
out your fitness regimen by working towards small and realistic
goals. These can be as simple as walking around the block
once a day for a week, and adding another block each subsequent
week until they reach the 30 minutes recommended by health
professionals. A few sessions with a personal trainer can
help you set reasonable goals for weight-bearing exercise
like weight training. In the beginning focus on overall
conditioning rather than building muscle. Check with staff
at your gym or fitness center for recommendations about
what exercise classes are right for your current fitness
When you're just starting out, it's easy to make rash promises
like exercising every day. It's hard for even people in
top condition to make time each and every day for training.
Start off three or four days a week and build up from there.
If you're taking up a new sport like swimming, skiing or
golf, consider taking lessons with a professional so that
you develop good habits from the beginning.
If you've been getting moderate exercise your goals can
be a little more ambitious. If you're walking the recommended
30 minutes per day, why not add hand weights to your routine?
This might also be the time to consider adding more weight
to your lifting or taking an intermediate fitness course.
You may also be ready to speak to a personal trainer about
beginning to work on building specific muscle groups.
Once you've attained a high level of fitness, then it's
time for some serious goal setting. Plan to run a marathon
or participate in a 5K walking event. There are many of
these events run to benefit charity, giving a double benefit
of both funds raised and health benefits to participants.
When preparing for an event of this nature, return to your
early habit of setting small, realistic goals. Add miles
to your run on a weekly basis until you are able to complete
the full distance. Speak with your trainer to establish
a regular schedule of weight-bearing exercise that will
help improve your stamina and flexibility.
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