If you are like me, your day is probably full of ‘ta-da!’ moments. My lunch is warmed up in minutes in the microwave, Twitter gives me real time world news, and I pay bills online without going to the bank. It’s like magic!
Through my work at the Physical Activity Line, I often hear: “I’ve been going to the gym for (insert number) days and nothing’s changed…” Why aren’t those fitness results available pronto? Truth of the matter is, being active is a long-term project. The more time and effort you invest in it, the better the outcomes.
Seeing improvements like better aerobic fitness, getting to a healthy weight, or stronger muscles, are long-term processes that require commitment. Liken it to planting a vegetable garden; you consistently put in time watering and tending to it. Over time you start to see changes.
As you become more active on a regular basis, your body goes through a series of adaptations. Stress your muscles by lifting weights and they will respond by getting stronger. Go for a walk every day and your heart will become fitter – breathlessness will be a thing of the past. But stop regular physical activity and you’ll lose what you’ve worked hard to accomplish. The saying “use it or lose it” describes this to perfection.
That being said, there are benefits of doing a single workout! For example, you’ll feel better mentally, your blood pressure may lower, and you’ll have taken an important step in the right direction (because after one workout, you will likely want to do another).
Another question I often hear is: “What’s the best workout to (insert goal)?” The answer is simple; choose an activity you like doing that will help realize that goal. That way it won’t seem like a chore and you’ll be active on a more consistent basis.
How Not to Be Afraid to Try a New Sport
The Canada Winter Games: Motivation to Get Active
Here’s Your Plan for an Active New Year
Physical Activity Line: How to Get Started
American College of Sports Medicine: Starting an Exercise Program and Sticking with It