02/07/2016 11:09 AM IST | Updated 17/10/2016 12:54 PM IST

Couch To Standing: 5 Tips On How To Begin Exercising

Woman practicing yoga in foggy field
Tom Merton via Getty Images
Woman practicing yoga in foggy field

When you are young, you can get by solely on pizza and fun, but as you cross over to the wiser side of 30, it's time to begin considering good health more seriously.

It isn't easy to start or maintain a good exercising regime -- say one hour a day, four or five times a week. Mercifully, there are a few things that help.

Take it slow:

Start with five minutes, or just start with wearing your shoes. Even you can do that much, c'mon. Don't set any targets for yourself because you are going to fail. Just say to yourself that whenever you go for your walk (or swim or to the gym or dancing, you get the drift) in a week, you will do it for at least five minutes each. And don't let anyone mock you – the first walk I did this year was for 16 minutes and I was red in the face as if I had walked home from the Bahamas. Now I walk-jog-walk for 40 minutes four times a week. If anyone (most likely candidate is the mother) tries to laugh at you for "exercising for five minutes a day", tell them to sod off.

Keep track:

Whether you note your exercise record down or use an app to track it (I use RunKeeper but there are hundreds of others), keep a note of your walks. Take a week at a time. Say this week you went once for five minutes, which is already too hateful, next week your goal is very simple: to repeat this effort. Don't put any pressure on yourself to do anymore till one day you might want to do six minutes and another 10. Another week you might want to go twice.

Compete with yourself:

Do not get an exercising buddy. Other people are very irritating, they are always better at these things. They don't mind sweating, they don't mind the heat, soon they begin to enjoy exercising – in a month you'll be questioning your choice in friends and within six your trust in humanity would be crushed. Nope. Go solo. Track your walks: the only record you need to break is your own.

Don't get blinded by conventional thinking:

So you went right back to the couch, of course, after doing say six weeks of five-minute walk one day a week. You could not up your exercise by even a minute more, naturally. You stopped exercising and now it's been three weeks since you last wore your sneakers. I've done all of this, many times over, in the last decade so I am not moved. Just try again. Repeat from the beginning and get going because not doing something for a few weeks does not mean you've stopped doing it, or given it up, it simply means that you didn't do it for a few weeks.

Don't expect to love it:

No, it never gets better. Exercising is hard work; there's no point pretending that you are going to start loving it eventually. Do it like you eat your daily vitamins (or will, with age). Those people who say "running is my life, it is a part of me" are those irritating people mentioned above whom one must avoid at all cost (mute them) – however, what exercising will do is result in tangible benefits. You feel more energetic, you lose weight, your clothes fit better as your muscles get toned, and the sense of achievement after a workout completed successfully (even for five minutes) is immense – it is a great high. It will be worth it.

Remember, you have not stopped doing exercise, you merely didn't do it for the last 15 years and it does not matter one bit. From tomorrow your exercising regime begins again: start with standing for a few ticks. Once a week.

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