First Steps to Fitness

Every journey, as they say, begins with a single step. If you haven’t embarked on your journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle, or if you’ve fallen by the wayside, the road ahead can be daunting.

Published May 24, 2013 5:00 AM
3 min read

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Every journey, as they say, begins with a single step. If you haven’t embarked on your journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle, or if you’ve fallen by the wayside, the road ahead can be daunting.

 

By Lee Sandford

 

Every journey, as they say, begins with a single step. If you haven’t embarked on your journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle, or if you’ve fallen by the wayside, the road ahead can be daunting. There is so much information — and misinformation — on health, fitness, and diet in publications from trade magazines to tabloids, that it leaves you wondering if you’ll ever hit on the magic formula.

 

Pay attention to real success stories, however, and it will seem much simpler. Also, government, insurance companies, and employers want us to get fit, as does the fitness industry. And if you need more motivation, we live in a very physically active community. Nearby towns may boast more millionaires per square mile, but Rye can claim the most triathletes per square mile.

 

There is an activity out there that you can make your own, enjoy, and stick with, and there are plenty of people willing to help and advise you until you find it.

 

Here’s a K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid) guide to two popular go-tos:

 

Running

 

The great thing about running, or walking/running, is that it requires little equipment and suits most schedules. Just think “one foot in front of the other.” Yes, you’ll come across veterans who have read Runners World for years and are full of scientific, technical knowledge, but you’ll get to all that once you’ve got the bug.

 

Matt Stallsworth of the Rye Running Company points out that a good pair of shoes is really the only equipment you need. He’ll put you on a treadmill, analyze your gait, and recommend the correct sneaker. Turns out I contacted Matt at just at the right time, because the store is hosting a new six-week Begin-to-Run training program. The course will finish in time for the New Canaan Four on the Fourth race on July 4. The $50 program includes bi-weekly coached training sessions, multiple social and informational sessions, a RUN THIS TOWN T-shirt, and a pair of Feetures! socks. Matt assured me the program is truly geared for beginners.

 

If this program has come up a little too quickly, or the times don’t suit, my esteemed colleague and the quintessential running convert, Julie McGuire, is always keen to have more people in her free running groups, so note down her email for when you are ready to get going: mcguire1999@optonline.net.

 

If you’re happy to go it alone, start with a set distance, say two to four miles, depending on your fitness and stamina level. Quite quickly, you’ll notice the walking breaks become fewer and your time getting round a set course faster.

 

Working Out at the Gym

 

For expert advice on where to get started, I chatted with Laura Laura, Member Wellness Coordinator at the Rye YMCA. The Y’s system for introducing new members to the gym follows the K.I.S.S. principle, too. 

 

Laura explained that in days gone by, an introductory session may have meant just a quick stop at every machine and how to work it, but you’d then be left to your own devices. Now, an initial one-to-one establishes — in detail — your goals, fitness level, and any weaknesses you may have. The individually prescribed program may include only cardio plus five strength exercises, which may be all body weight and no machines at all, if that’s what’s appropriate. Laura aims to increase your body awareness, promoting good form on a few simple exercises before you move on to a more varied program, also with support from staff.  She says the worst thing is to prescribe a complicated program leaving a new member feeling defeated and overwhelmed. 

 

So, there’s two starting points for you to think about. If neither of them grabs you, never fear, I’ll have more ideas coming your way next time!

 

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