Getting Fit - Baby Steps

by Sarah Villafranco, MD /

Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting fit?  Unsure how to begin?  Tired of hearing advice from everyone you know about how to get started?  Sick of watching P90X infomercials and feeling frumpy?  Here are five steps (I know, this is just ME giving you advice, but I’m a fitness zealot and a doctor so doesn’t it count extra?) toward a more fit you:


  • Think about YOU.  Are you an indoor person or an outdoor person?  Do you like music?  Do you love to dance?  Do you live within walking distance of a gym?  Do you have enough cash to spend on a membership?  Have you always wanted to try something fun like yoga or jujitsu?  Now, tailor your plan to YOU.  Don’t let someone sell you a plan that is not totally consistent with your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses.  If it’s not YOU, it won’t work.
  • Start with FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY.  Don’t join a boot camp that makes you hopelessly sore.  Don’t go from zero to Crossfit in one day, leaving you too tired to lift your soap in the shower.  Don’t tell yourself that if you can’t do an hour then it isn’t worth doing anything.  These are recipes for quitting.  What you need to do, in essence, is get ADDICTED to the fifteen minutes.  Only then will you CRAVE more of those minutes.
  • The absolute easiest way to start is with a pair of running shoes.  Period.  That is ALL you need.  Cheap, quick, easy to operate.  Walk as fast as you can for fifteen tiny little minutes!  Done!  Pink cheeks!  Pat on the back!
  • If you are a music person, get your groove on.  And, if you like to dance, walk to a beat.  Here is a little gift you can give yourself – get your iTunes library (or try Spotify – amazing music service) up on the screen.  Make a playlist of songs that you think might be fun to walk to, with a good strong beat.  If you want to get technical, which I highly recommend, use a beat-counting tool such as All8, and choose songs in the 127-132 beats per minute range.  This will get you stomping at a good clip.  Don’t be afraid to dance openly or play airdrums or even skip – WHO CARES?
  • Stick to this plan six days a week for 2 weeks.  Don’t whine.  Get it done.  That’s why Nike came up with the slogan – because it’s so easy to just do it!  Especially when it’s only 15 minutes a day.  After two weeks, increase your daily comittment by 5 minutes every 2-3 weeks.  Once you are at 30 minutes a day, you can move to Phase 2, where you vary your routine a bit, and add fun stuff like weights or pushups or yoga a couple days a week.


But that’s then.  This is now.  And now = FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY.

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