I Want To Get Fit, Where Do I Start?

Published Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I Want To Get Fit, Where Do I Start?

Samantha Morris, Prevention and Screening Clinical Services

As the snow starts to fall so do our levels of physical activity. Physical activity can help to prevent chronic diseases and prevent the ‘winter blues’ by boosting our mood and energy.

For Dr. Ian Newhouse, PhD, Director of the School of Kinesiology at Lakehead University, sports and exercise have always played an important role in his life. Growing up, he enjoyed playing various sports, but it was not until high school that he started to focus his attention on the sport of running. Training throughout university and becoming an Olympic athlete, fostered his passion for understanding how the body works and how to make it go just a little faster. Upon retiring from elite athletics, Dr. Newhouse turned to an academic career that focused, fittingly, on exercise physiology.

“While I am no longer focused on trying to run fast, the social, psychological and physiological benefits of regular exercise are ingrained in both my work and recreation,” says Newhouse. 

Next week, Newhouse will be the expert speaker for Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Healthy Get-Together. This one-hour virtual event will focus on the importance of physical activity and how to become more fit. Whether exercising is already part of your daily routine, or you are looking for the motivation to start exercising, this event is for you.

Newhouse is an advocate for the importance of keeping physically active throughout the lifespan. “In a nutshell, exercise is medicine. It can help prevent or treat almost any chronic disease you can think of. It can also provide many benefits to mental health, as well,” he explains.

Even when we know that exercise has an array of benefits, getting started can often be the biggest hurdle to overcome. So where do we start?

Newhouse’s advice: “Start with small steps and make it fun. If exercise isn’t fun, it will likely fall wayside. Baby steps are good and deserve celebration.”

Once you’ve started exercising regularly, staying active and keeping things exciting can become a daily struggle. As the seasons change, the cold weather makes us want to stay inside, wrapped up in a blanket with a warm drink. We asked Newhouse for his expert opinion on keeping active any time of year, and here are his top three  tips for keeping active:

  1. Individualize your activity. Think of what you like and don’t like and use resources around you (i.e. friends, dogs, facilities, etc.).
  2. Make it a routine. Put exercise in your schedule and over time, it will start to become part of your daily routine.
  3. Appreciate your progress. Every little bit counts; even if it is simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting up from your desk to stretch every 20 minutes.

To learn more about the benefits of physical activity and how to start moving today, join our virtual Healthy Get-Together event featuring Dr. Newhouse on Wednesday, November 24th at 7:00 pm EST via Webex by going to http://tbh.net/hgt.

The Healthy Get-Together speaker series is available to both Hospital staff and the public, providing information about chronic disease prevention strategies and healthy living in a fun and engaging way. These one-hour sessions are held bi-monthly and feature a guest speaker from our Hospital staff or a community expert. Past sessions are can be viewed by visiting https://tbrhsc.net/healthy-get-together-links.


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