How You Can Get Started On Your Fitness Journey

There's no reason you can't start a fitness journey gradually. These steps can help you start this new phase in your life at your own pace.More

How You Can Get Started On Your Fitness Journey

Written By Sierra Powell / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

If you've previously lived a sedentary lifestyle and have made the commitment to change, you may be feeling overwhelmed by everything this entails. After all, there are several factors that you'll have to consider in becoming a more fit and active individual.

Many people feel so intimidated by the process that they eventually give up, but there's no reason you can't start a fitness journey gradually. These steps can help you start this new phase in your life at your own pace.

Start With Changing Your Diet

The foods you eat will have a significant impact on your body's ability to lose weight and build lean muscle mass. You can change your diet gradually by reducing your sugar and fat intake. Replace white bread products and pasta with whole grain wheat. Instead of eating ice cream or pie for dessert, feed your sweet tooth with frozen strawberries or blueberries.

Eventually, three-quarters of each meal should be comprised of plant-based foods. You should also use a whey protein mix to create drinks throughout the day. Increasing your protein intake will help your body repair tissue and build lean muscle more efficiently.

Start With Moderate Workouts

While you may have more ambitious ideas for starting your fitness journey, it's better to start out slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. To begin, start with a 30-minute workout three to five days per week that involve moderate-intensity exercises. For the first four weeks, you should stick to this plan.

Afterwards, add another 30 minutes to your workout sessions and increase the intensity gradually. This is also an effective strategy for people who live busy lifestyles and want to add exercise to their schedules. Make appointments in your calendar just as you would schedule a meeting or doctor's appointment.

Engage in Enjoyable Activities

You should spend a minimum of three days per week at the gym, where you can use free weights and resistance training equipment to build muscle. For the remaining days of each week, look for activities that you enjoy doing and try to keep some variety in your workouts.

You can go bicycling, swimming, or golfing on different days of the week. Try running if you find that enjoyable. Other options to consider include team sports, such as tennis, basketball, and softball. Adding a broad range of activities to your fitness journey will keep your workouts from getting boring. Additionally, each activity will exercise a different group of muscles, helping you to keep the development of lean muscle consistent throughout your body.

Take Breaks

Especially as you begin to change your lifestyle, it's important to have realistic expectations of your body. After spending most of your time living an inactive life, your muscles and tissue won't be as elastic as they should be and your cardiovascular system won't adapt to changes in your body's need for energy as efficiently.

You should be willing to take breaks as frequently as you need them without chastising yourself for not doing better. Work more on consistency, and congratulate yourself for carrying through with each workout. Your body's resilience and agility will improve through regular exercise.

Hold Yourself Accountable

When people feel accountable to themselves or to others, they're less likely to give up on their goals. This is especially true of a fitness journey. You can hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal in which you write about your dietary changes and fitness achievements each day.

If you feel as though you need to be held accountable to someone other than yourself, there are several options available to you. One method people use is to partner up with someone else who is also invested in starting a fitness journey. You and a friend can motivate one another.

You can also start a blog or vlog online. By documenting your fitness journey to your followers, you'll feel obligated to continue pursuing your goals. Additionally, you'll inspire others to start pursuing their own fitness goals.

You should take your fitness journey at your own pace. After you have made one of these changes in your life, take the time to live with it. Once it feels like it has become a natural habit in your life, take it a step further. As long as you continue challenging yourself, you will make progress in your journey. Before long, you'll see the positive changes in your life that had seemed impossible just a short while ago.

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Written By:

Sierra Powell graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing. When she's not writing, she loves to cook, sew, and go hiking with her dogs.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed , a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at .

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Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do

Millions of people around the world have sickle cell disease, a genetic condition that can cause pain and damage to organs or tissues, and can make children more susceptible to other health problems. In the US, most cases are diagnosed through screening in newborns. Getting connected to the proper care early in a child’s life can help prevent complications from the disease. The post Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do

If you’ve learned that your newborn or young child has sickle cell disease, you — and other family members and friends — may have many questions.

These days, most cases of sickle cell disease in the US are diagnosed through newborn screening. It’s important to make the diagnosis early, so that babies can be started on penicillin (or another antibiotic) to prevent infection. Getting connected early to a pediatrician for primary care — and to specialists in blood disorders who can work closely with the child as they grow, and with their families — can help prevent complications of the disease.

The basics

Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen. In sickle cell disease, the hemoglobin can change the rounded shape of red blood cells into a C-shape that is crooked, like the tool called a sickle. When that happens, the cells get sticky and can clog up small blood vessels. It also makes the red cells more fragile and likely to break apart, causing anemia.

Millions of people around the world have sickle cell disease, or SCD. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate it affects about 100,000 people. It occurs in about one out of 365 Black or African American births, and one out of 16,300 Hispanic American births.

Is SCD a genetic disease?

Yes. All of us have two genes that decide what kind of hemoglobin we have, one from each parent. People with sickle cell disease have two copies of the sickle gene, inherited from both parents. If someone has one copy, they have “sickle cell trait,” meaning that they are a carrier of the gene.

Sickle cell trait is common, affecting one in 13 Black children. While there are some problems associated with sickle cell trait, people with sickle cell trait are generally healthy; in fact, they are thought to be less likely to develop severe cases of malaria, which is why the disease was thought to have evolved in people from areas around the equator where malaria is common.

There are other kinds of genetic hemoglobin diseases, such as thalassemia or hemoglobin C. Sometimes people are born with one sickle gene and one gene for a different hemoglobin problem. The severity of their condition depends on the particular hemoglobin combination.

Currently, there is no cure for sickle cell disease or the other genetic hemoglobin diseases, except for bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant.

What health issues could SCD cause?

When sickle cells clog up blood vessels, it can lead to pain and damage to organs or tissues due to lack of blood flow. When coupled with the effects of anemia, this means that babies and children with sickle cell disease are more likely to have complications from infections, such as pneumonia; vision problems; blood clots; and breathing problems. Children with sickle cell disease can also get swelling of the spleen if sickled cells get stuck there.

How can you help your child live a healthy life as they grow?

Children with sickle cell disease and their families can work together to help prevent complications by taking these steps:

  • Stay well-hydrated, as dehydration can make cells more likely to sickle.
  • Avoid extremes of temperature, especially cold, as this also can trigger sickling of the cells.
  • Avoid areas of high altitude, where there is less oxygen.
  • Take care with very vigorous exercise, which may decrease the amount of oxygen available to the blood.
  • Wash hands regularly and avoid sick people to the extent possible.
  • Get all recommended vaccinations.
  • Learn all the signs and symptoms of blocked blood vessels, anemia, a swollen spleen, infection, blood clots, and lung problems, so that they know when to get medical care immediately. Ask your child’s doctor or medical team to help you understand key warning signs for each of these based on your child’s age.

Also, see this helpful toolkit created by the CDC and the American Society of Hematology. It explains common complications of sickle cell disease and steps to take for better health.

Being closely connected to medical care is crucial, because the sooner complications are diagnosed, the sooner and more successfully they are treated. There are also treatments such as hydroxyurea that can help prevent complications in the first place. Children with sickle cell disease should regularly see their primary care pediatrician and their specialist, whether they are having symptoms or not, so that they can work together to help live the healthiest life possible.

Follow me on Twitter @drClaire

The post Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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