Exercise: How to Get Going (cont.)
Another kind of goal, especially if you're a beginner exerciser, is an exercise-based goal. For instance, "I'll exercise four days this week," and when you do that consistently for a month, don't forget to give yourself a reward for reaching your goals.
How do you know what goals to set? There are guidelines you can follow from the American College of Sports Medicine (acsm.org), and you can look at what your ideal body weight should be so you have some realistic expectations. In terms of weight loss, we consider realistic appropriate weight loss to be a half to two pounds per week. It's important to know what appropriate guidelines are, because if in your mind you think, "I want to lose 5 pounds this week," and you lose 2 pounds, you could be disappointed when really you should be celebrating. Also look at the WebMD site, where you'll find body mass index charts, and you can estimate your own body mass and set goals based on that.
But don't live and die by the scale, because pounds often are not a good indicator of what's actually going on with your body. Body fat's a good indicator, and measurements are good indicators, so get out your tape measure and actually take measurements. Sometimes the scale doesn't move, but your measurements change. Even if you don't see changes in body fat or on that scale, think about how you feel. When you feel better when you exercise, and you will, that's a good motivator to keep you exercising.
If you think about the goal, which is lifetime fitness, it's about being active every single day; it's not to get exercise over and done with, but to become a more active person for your entire life.
If you're not used to exercising, you may find you feel more tired for the first week or two, but hang in there, because your energy level will definitely increase.
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