The quest for improved health and fitness often starts when considering how you function on a daily basis. A wake-up call may be realizing that lack of fitness prevents you from engaging fully in life activities. Consider the following questions:
- Do you find yourself breathless going up a short flight of stairs?
- Do you avoid social or recreational situations that may involve physical activity?
- Are you unable to keep up with peers in recreational activities or sport competitions?
- Are you unable to lift a full bag of groceries from your vehicle?
- Do you struggle to hold your child or grandchild?
- Are you limited in your recreational pursuits by a lack of strength?
- Are you unable to reach over your shoulder to fasten a zipper?
- Do you find it difficult to look behind you to check for traffic when driving?
- Do you have to modify your movements (e.g., a golf swing) to compensate for limited joint mobility?
- Do you find yourself unsteady when moving quickly from one position to another?
- Are you prone to falling?
- Are your clothes tighter than they were last year?
- Do you feel unhappy with your appearance because of weight gain?
- Does added body fat limit your enjoyment of recreational activities such as jogging or cycling?
Did you answer “yes” to several of the above questions? Are you ready to learn more about how to improve your fitness and health? ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd edition is the ultimate resource for learning how to make the changes you need to fulfill your potential. You can download a free sample to learn more about this book.
Don’t forget check out preparticipation screening resources, such as ACSM's Exercise Preparticipation Health Screening or the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire for Everyone, to see if it is necessary to seek further advice from your doctor or other exercise professional before getting started with an exercise program.
Other Resources to Help You Get Started
Barbara A. Bushman, PhD, FACSM, ACSM-CEP, PD, is a professor at Missouri State University. Dr. Bushman is the senior editor of ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd edition and serves as an associate editor of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®, writing the “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” column, which covers a variety of topics in health and fitness.