New to the exercise world? Here’s how to get started.
You’ve made the decision to start an exercise program.Congratulations! You are one step closer to better health and a better body. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, your excitement will quickly fade and be long forgotten. So if you’re going to take the exercise plunge, take the steps necessary to stick with the program.
What can you do to get started on a program that will work for you today and in the long run? Keep reading for a handful of steps that will turn your exercise start-up into a lifestyle change that will last.
Step 1: Get the OK
Not everyone needs clearance from a doctor before starting an exercise program. If you’re in good physical health, nothing should hold you back. However, make an appointment with your doctor prior to exercising if you…
…have high blood pressure or heart problems.
…have been diagnosed with other medical conditions or illness.
…haven’t exercised in over a year.
…are older than 65 and aren’t physically active.
…experience dizziness, fainting spells, or chest pains.
…are pregnant or struggling with infertility.
…are recovering from an illness or recent injury.
Step 2: Know the Basic Equipment
An exercise program doesn’t have to be expensive. The cost of what you need in order to start exercising depends on what type of exercise you choose and where you choose to do it.
When it comes to clothes and shoes, think comfort and support. There are no right or wrong workout clothes. If anything, invest in quality, supportive shoes. Look for the type of shoe designed for your activity, whether walking, running, or basketball.
Step 3: Find a Location
Your next step is to choose your exercise venue. Do you prefer the privacy of your own home? Would you rather exercise outdoors? Perhaps you like the perks that come with a gym membership (exercise equipment, classes, babysitting, or personal trainers). You can always change your location depending on your mood or the weather. But you’ll need to know where you plan to exercise if it’s going to be something you do on a regular basis.
Step 4: Set Goals
Before deciding what your exercise program will look like, it’s best to determine your exercise goals. Do you want to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds? Maintain your current weight? Run a 5K race or marathon within the year? Improve the health of your heart or lower your chances of developing cancer or diabetes? Whatever your goals, they should be realistic and to the point. Purchase a small notebook or find a phone app to record your goals and track your progress.
Step 5: Plan Your Workout
Your goals are set and you’ve got the right shoes on your feet. Now you’ve got to determine an exercise program that will help you meet your goals. The key to reaching your fitness goals is finding an exercise you enjoy. Your options are plentiful: walking, jogging, dancing, cycling, swimming, aerobics, Yoga, tennis, basketball, cross-country skiing, weight-lifting, or even gardening. You just have to pick something and get started!
A balanced workout plan for healthy adults includes 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise, which gets your heart rate up, or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio each week; 20 to 30 minutes of strength training to improve muscle strength two to three days a week; and flexibility exercises to stretch your muscles.
Start each workout with several minutes of warm-up and end each workout with a cool down period and stretching. To get the most out of your workout, exercise in your target heart rate (THR) zone. Your THR is 60–80 percent of your maximum heart rate. To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. While you’re working out, take your pulse and make sure your heart rate is in your target range.
New at exercising? Start slow. Starting too aggressively may leave you tired, injured, or sore. A poor start may lead to an early finish. What you want to do is find a workout that you enjoy and that leaves you feeling energized.