Fitness for Body and Soul

The benefits of incorporating a personal fitness plan into your life are great. More energy for work and leisure activities, loss of extra pounds and body fat, increased stamina and strength, and reduced risk of heart attack are just some of the rewards of staying in good physical condition. Indeed, your body and soul will thank you in the long run.

Despite these benefits, it can be difficult for some of us to start a personal fitness plan. Work and family obligations can keep us from exercising. And, let’s face it, nobody can make you exercise! But enough excuses, if you’re interested in maintaining good health and reaping the benefits of incorporating a fitness plan into your life, here are some tips to help get you started.

Should I See A Doctor Before I Start A Fitness Routine?

Most people do not need to see a doctor before they start a gradual, sensible exercise program. If, however, you find yourself in agreement after reviewing any of the following guidelines, you should immediately see a doctor before starting a fitness routine.

  • Your doctor said you have a heart condition and recommended only medically supervised physical activity.
  • Before, during or following strenuous activity you frequently have pains or pressure in the left or mid-chest areas, left neck, shoulder or arm.
  • You tend to lose consciousness or fall over due to dizziness when exerting yourself.
  • You feel extremely breathless after mild exertion.
  • Your doctor recommended you take medicine for your blood pressure or a heart condition.
  • You have a medical condition or other physical reason not mentioned here which might need special attention in an exercise program (for example, insulin-dependent diabetes).

Selecting an Activity

It’s important to choose a fitness activity you enjoy. Some people like basketball and swimming, while others like to go to the local fitness center and workout. No matter what you select, make sure it’s a fitness activity you enjoy. Remember that it’s your body so don’t be influenced by another’s activity choice — if you don’t think it’s right for you, it’s probably not!

Cost Free Alternatives

Before signing-up at your neighborhood fitness center or purchasing the latest fancy and expensive workout equipment, why not investigate the possibilities of starting a cost-free exercise program? Brisk walks in your neighborhood park or “climbing” the stairs at work during your break-time are both easy and cost-free alternatives.

Start Off Slow

Most of us are not gold medal Olympians! With that in mind, it is important to slowly work yourself into a personal fitness plan. Walking 15 to 30 minutes a day, or doing 3 sets of sit-ups may be a good place to start. Being overly ambitious and exceeding what your body is presently conditioned for can lead to pulling a muscle or an unexpected fall. Hurting yourself through overexertion, no matter how good your intentions may have been, can lead to frustration and may ultimately cause you to discard your personal fitness plan all together.

Exercise With A Friend

Staying fit with a friend or family member can be fun and a great source of inspiration. When selecting an exercise buddy, make sure it’s someone who’s at your level of fitness. Playing basket with Kobe Bryant or running with gold-medal Olympian Carl Lewis could be a frustrating experience.

Keeping It Going

Set short and long-term goals. For example, before tying to reach your long-term goal of walking 5 miles, give yourself some time to first reach your short-term goal of walking 1 mile. These “mini-successes” will help keep you motivated without the frustration. Set yourself up for success by setting those goals!


Enjoy the personal fitness plan you’ve developed. If you find yourself getting bored with it, don’t be afraid to explore new fitness possibilities.

If you want to work toward a healthier lifestyle, you don’t have to do it alone. Simi Valley Hospital can help. Please call our us at (805) 955-6890 to find out about our free and low-cost health classes. We can also help you find a physician; just call Referral Services at (805) 955-6900.

Note: This is for information purposes only and not intended for use in place of the advice of a physician.