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Calling All Couch Potatoes!

You know your sedentary lifestyle must be changed, but there is no magic wand to instill discipline and magically turn you into a healthy and active fitness-minded person. Ease yourself out of your evil couch potato routine in four weeks by following these simple and painless steps.

Week one. Start by walking at least 30 minutes every day. Morning, noon or night, it really doesn’t matter when, so long as you are consistent. As you walk, mentally prepare yourself for bigger and better things. Focus on regulating your breathing, warming up and warming down properly.

Week two. Add 15 minutes of serious stretching both before and after your daily walk. Do things like windmills where you hold an outstretched position and touch your toes. Try lunges that stretch your back muscles and give strength to your legs. You don’t need to follow a specific workout routine; stretch and hold your body in positions where you can feel the muscles being worked gradually.

Week three. Separate your walk and workout time. Now, instead of walking, pick up the pace to a brisk near-run. Keep it up for the full half-hour. Combine the two 15 minute stretch periods into one session of stretching and strengthening. Focus on better breathing constantly. The better your body uses oxygen, the more efficient your workouts will be.

Week four. Run! That’s right, you should be more than ready to start calling yourself a real runner! Don’t limit yourself to 30 minutes; stretch well before you kick it off and get in a comfortable, yet challenging, run. It should feel good to you, without pain or couch potato heavy breathing. Focus your exercise routine into body-part specific segments for at least 45 minutes. Do crunches for abs, and other specialty exercises in moderation, continuing to keep breathing under control. You might even find yourself more focused on the positive outcome of your efforts, rather than clock watching!

Week five. Sit down and analyze what you like and don’t like about different exercises. If you’ve had a sore back, for example, switch to something that works lower back muscles and cut anything that arches it too sharply. If your mid-section is in serious need of a reduction, focus an extra round of reps on that area. Write a “wish-list” of sorts about where on your body you really want to look better, tighter and firmer. Incorporate the specific exercises that will get you there into a well-written and doable standard routine for your schedule.

You are now in good enough shape to start sculpting the areas you really need to work on. You will not be dreading a half an hour walk or full, 60 minute run: You have been there and done that! You now know how to warm up, warm down and breathe properly and how to commit to your personal fitness routine with self-discipline and determination. You have come way too far to turn back now!

Don’t try to shock or force yourself into fancy clothes, an expensive gym membership and goals too lofty to ever reach! Ease yourself out of that couch potato lifestyle that was years in the making, and you just might find yourself loving your new and healthier way of living.