John’s Corner: Where to Start?

Welcome! In this monthly column, I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts and insights about fitness and what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle. My column is aimed at people in their fifties or older, because I fall in the same category.

Some of you have known me for quite some time. Others, maybe not that long. But all you really need to know is that I’ve been passionate about fitness and sports all my life, long before it was in vogue.

Why? Because I love it, and it makes me feel good both physically and mentally.

But it takes work to get there. You can’t wave a magic wand and make yourself fit.

That said, fitness can mean different things for different people. As I’ve grown older my abilities and goals have evolved, by necessity. I often tell people that I’m constantly trying to re-invent myself. I have to. Aging, injuries, demanding schedules, and natural physical limitations—they all force us to adjust over time.

But none of that should stop us from trying. The question is: where do you start?

  • First, you have to make fitness a priority. Set a time for YOU and your health.
  • Second, you need to be consistent and persistent.
  • Third, be realistic. Set goals that are achievable. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and re-set goals when needed.
  • Fourth, designate at least two time slots per week to work out.
  • Fifth, find a partner or a group to work out with regularly and keep you honest.

While all five steps are important, the fifth one is critical. It helps so much to have someone to exercise with, whether you’ve been doing this for years or you’re just getting started. For over twenty years I ran with my friends Bob and Nelson at 5:15 a.m. most days of the week. In fact, I can count on one hand the few times one of us missed our morning adventure. As we liked to joke, misery likes company.

If you run into any hiccups along the way—and we all do—that’s where number two comes into play. Be consistent—and most of all, be persistent.

This past Tuesday I saw Barb G. walking on one of the treadmills, and I asked her how she was.

“I was gone for a couple of weeks,” she said. “I can’t believe how far it set me back. I’m trying to recover.”

The next day I saw Barb on the treadmill again and at yoga. That’s what it takes.

If you need help or direction on how to get started talk to Maddy or Jackie at Imagine they can help you design a plan to fit your needs.

Of course, we can’t forget number six. No matter what you do, don’t forget to have fun. After all, this is for you—and no one else.