Fitness is one of those things where you don't notice it is gone until one day you try to run or do some other remedial exercise, then the shocking truth of your body's deterioration hits you. It is all too easy to lose shape, but much more difficult to get it back.
Fitness is more than just regular exercise though. It is a whole combination of things. Frequency of exercise plays a massive part and is the determining factor, but diet, amount of sleep, stress, even moods affect ones fitness.
If somebody is out of shape, and wants to take measures to rectify that, then here are some things they should do.
Firstly, they should set aside two to three days a week where they can start to do some light exercise. The amount they can do will depend heavily on how out of shape they are before starting. It is always best to work up to a reasonable level rather than shooting out of the blocks.
For example, somebody who is heavily obese should only do fast-paced walking until they have lost a little weight and can run without straining their knees.
Next, they should analyse their diet. How healthily are they eating? Do they have enough energy during the day? Fueling the body is key to fitness and health, so making sure their body is operating efficiently is going to be vital to any fitness regime. It's not possible to get fit on a fast-food diet.
Reducing stress is also important. Doing exercise is actually a great way of reducing stress and the increasing heart rate will flush the body of some of the negative chemicals produced during stress.
At the same time, only somebody who is feeling relaxed can perform well during exercise, so the less stressed they are, the fitter they will become.
Finally, I would say to stick to a plan that you know is achievable. If you think you will only realistically have one free day per week for the next year, then just exercise once per week.
It is far better to exercise consistently for a year than to go all out for a few weeks then quit because the schedule you set was impossible to maintain.
With fitness, slow and steady wins the race. In truth, you never know how out of shape you are or how long it will take you to get back to fitness levels. Just keep at it and it will come.
As long as you are eating healthily and keeping as stress-free as possible, each exercise session will contribute to your body's improvement and slowly but surely you will become fit again.
Fitness really is something that is better maintained than treated as an on-off hobby. In today's world, it is increasingly easy to become a couch potato, which makes it increasingly difficult to get back in shape. However, once a commitment has been made, it just takes time and consistency to see results and feel good again.