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Beginning a Workout Plan

As part of Physical Fitness & Sports month Valley-Wide Health Systems will be sharing information about how physical activity can improve your well-being. In the article below, board certified physician assistant Louise Middaugh gives some great advice about how to begin a workout plan that will help you start living a healthier lifestyle.

Louise Middaugh is a Physician Assistant at our Sierra Blanca Medical Center.

Louise Middaugh is a Physician Assistant at our Sierra Blanca Medical Center.

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to that you want to start living a healthier lifestyle and you want to incorporate exercise into your routine.   Making the decision to change is a big first step.  But now comes the hard part and you may ask yourself:  How do I do this?  Below are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Talk to your provider.  Not every workout program is the same and there are multiple items that need to be considered before starting, such as current health status and overall condition.  Have you ever worked out before?  Do you have any joint problems?  These are points that you and your provider can discuss to help you get off to good start.
  2. Many people are excited about starting a program but once they get into it, they can run into barriers which keep them from participating regularly in the program.  Setting a goal and then not being able to keep it is one of the reasons why people quit their diet or exercise programs.  The most important thing to remember is to be realistic.  If you can only set aside 20-30 minutes three times a week to dedicate to exercise, then don’t choose a routine that requires you to work out for 60 minutes six days per week.  Start with a program that you think you can stick with based on your current schedule – you can always change it in the future!
  3. Be consistent.  Sometimes we give up because we are not seeing our desired results.   However, “results” are not always witnessed on the outside.  Benefits, or “results” from exercise include better mood, better sleep, improved cardiovascular exercise and more energy.  Combined with a good diet, you will also eventually start to see improved muscle tone and weight loss.  Studies show that as little as 20-30 minutes of walking can significantly reduce incidence of stroke.  Therefore, there are many “results” that can be appreciated from exercise – but being consistent is key.

One final point to keep in mind is that fitness and optimum wellness is not a destination but a journey.  For example, many people have a goal of losing weight – i.e., “I am going to lose 20 lbs”.  Once they lose the weight, they resume their old habits because they’ve reached the goal – but then they are surprised when they gain back the weight and they are “back to square one.”  If this happens to you, don’t beat yourself up – but do get back on path that moves you forward and helps you be the “best you” that you can be!  Only YOU can decide that, but our providers at Valley Wide Health Systems are committed to helping you achieve this ultimate goal.

Valley-Wide Health Systems is committed to providing information conducive to a healthy active lifestyle. For more information and to discuss your wellness journey with a provider visit us at vwhs.org.