My number 1 exercise essential (if you are female), after you have shifted the ‘would rather stay cozily in bed and rest my eyelids’ attitude and donned your metaphorical super keen-o hat, is a good sturdy sports bra. The most supportive friend you could ever wish for. Despite not being particularly well blessed in the relevant department myself, the thought of operating in a sporting environment without being strapped down so tight as to be indistinguishable chest-wise from a plank of wood concerns me a great deal. Seeing more curvaceous ladies leaping around untamed makes me wince in sympathy pain. In my humble opinion most women could benefit from investing in a good sports bra as their first move when embarking on an active lifestyle and certainly if you have more to support then do so, not only for comfort at the time, but for long term preservation of your assets.
My personal favourite at the moment is the Nike X-Back, which gives their higher level of support. Oft available in a jaunty range of colours these bad-boys have been a loyal friend of mine for many a year. They used to have a big metal hook fastening which I preferred and have now switched to a more standard small bra hook style closure method but they are still highly effective. This is in no way meant to imply I have been around and tried everything the world has to offer, merely a suggestion that if you are currently dissatisfied with what you have, especially if that dissatisfaction is enough to put you off attempts at activity, this might be worth a try.
The other piece of preparation I would advise for everyone wanting to work on their health and fitness is a plan. I’m not suggesting that you go all GCSE revision and waste days on end messing around with rulers, charts, coloured pens and stickers, further helping you to delay starting the activities documented on a plan so complex you will never follow it. By all means get going on the activity. Have a root around in the labels of your new sports bra and I’m sure it won’t be long before you happen across that well known nike slogan ‘just do it’. Pay attention. Rarely has a better suggestion been put forward when it comes to exercising. However, much as I think the way to start is to just get on and do something a bit of strategy never goes amiss if there is something you would like to achieve. What you need here is a smart goal, which refers not to a goal that has tucked in its shirt and polished its shoes nicely, but one which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed. If you are as pedantic as I you will undoubtedly have noticed already that for a goal to be achievable it must surely be realistic and vice versa, but let us not get bogged down in detail, basically you will do better if you come up with something more elaborate than the vague thought of ‘I should do more exercise’. Try instead something along the lines of ‘I plan to lose an inch off my waist/ run 5k without a break/ bench press 30kg’. State when you plan to reach that goal by ‘within one month/ by Christmas/ before my summer holiday’. And devise a strategy for working towards that goal – commit to a certain number of workouts per week/certain classes or sessions that you will attend or a set of activities to complete in a given time period. Set short, medium and long term goals and write them down so you can’t sneakily move the goalposts when it turns out that a month from now you did not exercise 3-4 times per week but instead continued to spend hours keeping up to date with the goings on in albert square/on facebook.