Written by: Michelle Kuiv

Move as much of your body in as big of a range of motion as often as possible.

 

Have you ever felt like you were not ready for the gym yet? Were not in good enough shape to get a good workout in? Have an injury preventing you from doing what you would consider a full workout? The good news is that you do not have to be “in shape” before you hit the gym; you can start your fitness journey with small achievable habits and continue with fun activities.

What does it mean to be fit? Merriam-Webster defines fitness as:

fitness (noun) – fit·ness | \ ˈfit-nəs : the quality or state of being fit, of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose.

 

With this definition we can see that being fit is being able to complete your required daily activities, your hobbies, and any physical challenges you may face without excessive pain, fatigue, or injury. This means when started your fitness journey, the best thing you can do is MOVE. The more movement the better. Try a bunch of different types of activities and then pick your favorite! Find a way to incorporate it into your daily activity. 

 

Newton’s first law of motion, sometimes interchanged with the definition of inertia, states that “ every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force;” or as you have probably heard it in layman’s terms “an object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an external force.”

 

One fun way of looking at how much energy an activity uses is by examining its METS or Metabolic Equivalents. “One metabolic equivalent (MET) is defined as the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting at rest and is equal to 3.5 ml O2 per kg body weight x min. The MET concept represents a simple, practical, and easily understood procedure for expressing the energy cost of physical activities as a multiple of the resting metabolic rate. The energy cost of an activity can be determined by dividing the relative oxygen cost of the activity (ml O2/kg/min) x by 3.5.”

 

Check out the table below and the following link for a list of activities and their METS:

http://download.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/PermaLink/MSS/A/MSS_43_8_2011_06_13_AINSWORTH_202093_SDC1.pdf 

To prove the value of movement even fidgeting can provide 0.2-0.5 additional METs. Starting with small goals to add more activity throughout the day is a great way to start becoming active. You can participate in activities like:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Climbing the escalator instead of riding it
  • Park further from the building and walk
  • Stand up at least once an hour – this also helps with productivity and refocusing
  • Wear a health monitoring smart watch
 

You can even create a MET challenge with yourself to try to continue beating your activity METs.

 

If you need guidance on how to direct your fitness goals get a trainer, workout buddy (account-a-buddy), or join a class or a sport. It does not matter what you start with as long as you get moving! Most people see the most dramatic results when starting from little to no activity to any activity and following a program specific to your needs is the best way to get quick results. The sooner and more often you move the easier you will find it to continue moving.