This is a fantastic funny article from Greatist about beginning down the path of fitness.
I am always encouraging my patients who do not exercise to explore it. I tell them that what they do does not matter so much as just doing it. I ask them to start slowly, and to quit before they are overly tired. I have explained that their muscles, ligaments and joints need weeks to adjust to the new routine.
Some people like to go three or four days a week for a hour or more. This can be appropriate for seasoned athletes, but for those still establishing a solid routine, I prefer 6 days a week of at least two or three different workouts, for only about 20-30 minutes. With this high of a weekly frequency, a habit can be established. With such a low duration, it won't be too hard. Nor will it be allowed to interfere with the daily schedule. In short, it should be sustainable.
Here's a funny thing I hear at the office. " I can't go to the gym until I get in better shape. " This leads me back to the point of this article. When I was taught yoga back in my groovy Southern California high school , we were told to begin by observing and accepting our present state. In doing the poses, we were cautioned to listen to our body, and lean into them only insofar as it felt healthy. This was part of what is now called " mindfulness " or being " present". One of my best high school friends said it best : " Be here now."
Yoga has never been about others. It is a gentle practice wherein we gain the physical skills of strength, stamina, relaxation and flexibility, and the mental skills of self calming and focus. Any exercise or sport can achieve similar goals but it must be a properly crafted regimen with a warm up, a cool down and sensible sequence. Those who are just beginning in fitness do best with some form of guidance. Ideally this is with a class and a teacher, but it can also take place with a DVD at home . That way the truly self conscious can get a taste of the benefits of yoga and similar workouts.
I blogged about this article because I think it did a great job of showing the transformation from disliking exercise to loving it, something I wish all my patients could experience.