THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. A workout routine will not only make you feel better within a couple days, but it will also improve your future physical wellbeing.
However, figuring out how to start working out for the first time can be overwhelming and sticking to a plan takes determination and discipline.
Here, Casey Wallace, a physical therapist at OrthoIndy shares a few thoughts on how to start exercising.
How to exercise for beginners
“Finding a workout routine for beginners is easier said than done,” said Casey. “It can be a process of trial and error until you find a plan that works best for you and your schedule. It’s important to keep in mind that finding a routine that fits your lifestyle is a process and a journey towards a better version of yourself. Try to stay positive during difficult times.”
Before you get started
- Check your health: If you are not used to being physically active or you are over the age of 45, consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine.
- Set realistic goals: Begin with easy and achievable goals such as walking three to five times a week and then add to your plan with new goals.
- Make it a habit: An exercise routine is only a “routine” if you stick to it long term; try to schedule time each week that you will exercise, that way you hold yourself more accountable.
What is the best exercise for beginners?
“Exercise is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation,” said Casey. “One of the most important things about initiating a new exercise routine is to make it enjoyable, that way it is easier to maintain this healthy habit.”
Common types of exercise
- Aerobic: Periods of continuous movement
- Dancing, such as a Zumba class
- Strength: Focuses on muscle power and building strength
- Resistance training
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): Short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by low intensity or rest
- Boot camps
- Sprinting routines
- Body Pump
- Balance or stability: Strengthens muscles while improving body coordination
- Core exercises
- Flexibility: Maintains range of motion, prevents injuries and aids in muscle recoveries
- Stretching routine
No matter what you choose, over time it’s important to switch up your exercise routine by practicing various types of exercise. If you focus on a lot of aerobic activity, try adding a strength workout to your weekly workout routine. If you only do boot camp workouts, maybe try a pilates class.
How do I exercise every day?
The best workout plans should have rest periods. “Allowing your body periods of rest can help prevent injuries and achieve maximum results from your training,” said Casey. “Even top athletes allow themselves days of rest so they can get back at it the next day with extra energy.”
If your body is starting to feel achy from all the physical activity, try yoga or a simple stretching routine to recover your muscle strength on rest days.
How to work out at the gym
“Going to a new gym can be intimidating when you are unfamiliar with the equipment,” said Casey. “But getting there is usually the hardest part. Keep in mind, everybody has been new to the gym at some point, so you are not alone.”
Every gym is different. However, most gyms offer a free orientation which includes a tour and an overview of equipment. Some gyms even offer a couple of free training sessions with a personal trainer to kick start your workout routine.
Some people find success in meeting a friend at the gym for a weekly workout or attending group workout classes. Meeting someone else helps with motivation, accountability and new workout ideas.
How to exercise at home
Sites such as Pinterest have great workout routines that you can do at home with or without weights. If you are in a time crunch and don’t have time to get to the gym or you don’t want to pay for a gym membership, try these quick at home workouts. Some workouts are only 15 minutes but will give you the quick burst of energy you need to stay motivated.
When exercising at home, it’s easy to get sidetracked. So just like carving out time to clean or do laundry, carve out time to exercise before your day even begins.
How to stay motivated
“Starting a new exercise routine does come with some challenges. Having a couple short term goals allows you to celebrate along your journey to the ultimate goal,” said Casey. “Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated. Daily results are hard to recognize at times, but keeping track of your efforts can provide encouragement as your choice of exercise gets easier.”
Quick tips to stay motivated
- Track progress such as running times, amount of weight being lifted or weight loss
- Attend group workout classes or workout with a friend
- Have fun while working out; if you are no longer enjoying a workout, switch it up
- Listen to your body, pushing through pain can cause injuries and ultimately lead to a loss in motivation
- Monitor your heart rate to make sure you are in an exercise zone
Learn more healthy tips for living an active and nutritious lifestyle.
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