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Setting an activity-based goal is a great way to get fit

At the top of the 'Rocky steps' after Philadelphia marathon
At the top of the 'Rocky steps' after Philadelphia marathon
RoseAnna Schick

Nothing worth attaining is ever achieved overnight. Getting fit follows the same principle.

One of the most effective ways to improve fitness is to set an activity-based goal that requires dedicated training over a period of time. Consider it a means to an end in order to get your self started.

In the past I’ve set many fitness goals for myself, and discovered new interests in the process. I wanted to become a runner so I trained for a half-marathon, and ended up finishing five. I wanted to become a better ice skater so I signed up for hockey lessons, and ended up joining my first hockey team. I wanted to learn how to row so I joined the Winnipeg Rowing Club, and ended up joining the competive program.

Setting a goal provides focus, motivation, and a personal challenge that can be rewarding in ways other than just physical. With an abundance of online resources, fitness facilities, and personal trainers, finding a program for your self is easy.

Running is one of the quickest ways to improve fitness, and requires minimal financial investment. All you need is a good pair of shoes, and away you go. Even if you’ve never run ten consecutive steps in your life, you can become a runner if you follow a sensible program. With the right amount of training time, you can go from zero to any distance - even a full marathon.

In Winnipeg, the Manitoba Marathon happens in June, and runners have many options. Besides the full 26.2 mile marathon, you can enter to run the half marathon, team relay, 10K walk, or even the 2.6 mile 'super run'. But first you'll have to train. As with all training, a running program should be geared towards your appropriate level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and provide a comfortably progressive increase in distance and speed.

If cycling is more your thing, set your sights - and your goal - on long distance. A number of organizations offer organized fundraising rides of various lengths. The MS Society bike tours travel 150 kilometers with an overnight in between. Longer rides like Habitat for Humanity allow cyclists to travel 800 or more kilometers in a week.

For multi-sport challenges, you’ve probably heard of triathlon – a combination of swimming, running and cycling. Triathlon Manitoba offers events of different lengths, from try-a-tri to ironman. You can also do a duathlon, which combines running and biking.

So ask yourself... what kind of goal would you like to set? Because if you've been thinking about getting fit, and living an overall healthier life, there’s no better time then the present to plan for your future.

I challenge you to challenge yourself. Set a goal today. It will give you something to work towards, and a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when you complete it.

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