So, you ask yourself…How do I get started? Everyone has good intentions to exercise on a daily basis, but you need a game plan to make it work. Here are some suggestions for when you’re beginning to think about an exercise program:
- Consider what you would like to achieve. What are your goals? Are you trying to lose weight or maybe train to participate in a 5K for the first time?
- Make a reasonable exercise plan. “No pain, No gain” should not be your plan. Everyone needs to ease into exercise at their own pace. Whether you are trying weight training or cardio…ease in… you’ll get to that 5K.
- How will you fit your exercise program into your day? Pick the time of day that you feel that you have the most energy and you can commit to your workout. Schedule your workout time like an appointment you can’t break. Look at it as “me time”.
- Try a variety of different exercises. Don’t do the same exercises all the time, if you do, your body will acclimate over time. Cross training is a good way for you to not get bored and the chances of an overuse injury are reduced dramatically.
- Allow for recovery. You’ll experience some muscle soreness when beginning a new workout program, this is completely normal. Just be sure to allow yourself a chance to recover between sessions.
Now you’ve got your game plan….what do you do next?
- Start slowly. Make sure you give yourself enough time for a good warm-up, stretch and cool down when you’re done. If you are doing cardio, try and keep a pace that allows you to continue for 5-10 minutes without getting tired. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry on a conversation, if you can’t you may be working too hard. Once you start building your stamina, aim for about 30 minutes of cardio. If you are weight training, chose a starting weight that will challenge you through 2 sets of 10 reps…using good form.
- A good workout plan will include 3 fitness essentials…Flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercises.
- If you are short on time, don’t skip your workout; try to squeeze in 15 minutes. Something is always better than nothing.
- Be Creative. Try new things such as bike riding, hiking in the woods or believe it or not…yard work!
- Let your body be your guide. If you feel pain, short of breath or dizzy.
- Be Flexible. If you aren’t feeling well, take the day to rest.
Monitor Your Progress:
Take a look at your program and the progress you’ve made with it every 4-6 weeks. At that point in time you may need to make some modifications or move on the next level. If you seem to be experiencing a loss in motivation, take a look at your goals, maybe you need to adjust them.
Remember to try and set goals that are both short term and long term…make them realistic. Starting an exercise program should be fun, pace yourself and get ready to enjoy the results!