Starting to exercise can seem like an overwhelming task if you’ve never done it before, or maybe even if you have! You may not know where to start, how much to do, or whether to invest in a personal trainer. Luckily, there are plenty of other people who have figured this out already, and the tips below will help you get started on your journey to better health.
Identify your reason for exercise
Exercise is a healthy habit, and it’s great for your body and mind. Finding your reason for exercising—whether it’s mental, physical or both—will help keep you motivated over time. Why are you seeking to get in shape? Write your response down! Is it because you want to improve your self-confidence? Is it because of health reasons like diabetes or high blood pressure? Or maybe you just want to be more energetic so that you can have more fun playing with your kids. Whatever your reason, write it down and remind yourself of why you’re working out when motivation wanes.
Write down your goals
One of the best ways to stay motivated and stick with your new exercise routine is by setting goals. Make a list of your goals, set deadlines for each one, and then revisit them regularly so you can see how far you’ve come. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but when it comes down to it, exercising more often and staying in shape will only benefit you. So get started!
Choose the right fitness routine for you
For fitness, the focus of specialization is universal. No matter what exercise one does, you will not fit into one rule. So instead of signing up for a fitness class at your local gym, take some time to assess what kind of exercise routine works best for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you work long hours and don’t have much free time in your schedule, then joining a group fitness class or working out at a gym probably isn’t a great option for you.
Find your friends and ask them to join you
If you have friends who also want to work out, invite them along. Having other people around will help motivate you and hold you accountable for keeping your word. Plus, most people find that exercising in a group is more fun than working out alone. Your friends might even push you harder than you’d push yourself (in a good way). If they don’t seem interested, consider finding a friend at work or through an online forum. The best part about having someone else there is that if you get injured or just need to take a break, they can keep going so you don’t miss out on any of your workout time.
When you want to start exercising, it can be a challenge to find your motivation. The fact is, there are lots of reasons to hit the gym and working out has multiple benefits beyond making you look good. We all know how good exercise feels and even if you don’t want to get into shape for yourself, think about doing it for those around you (spouse, kids, friends). Having someone to keep you accountable makes a huge difference when trying to stay motivated.
Do a little every day
To get into an exercise routine, it can be helpful to break things down into small steps. Commit yourself to doing a little bit of exercise every day. This can include walking around your neighbourhood or taking a yoga class in your area. Once you start doing some physical activity every day, you will find that it gets easier and eventually becomes a habit. Try tracking your progress over time by using fitness apps such as MapMyFitness or GymPact and setting reminders for yourself on your phone.
Track your progress, then reward yourself when you hit a milestone
Your first workout can be intimidating, so it helps to know what to expect. It’s also important that you track your progress from week to week—not only so you can see how far you’ve come, but also because workouts take time to build up in intensity. Don’t get discouraged if at first you only feel a slight burn in your thighs; keep pushing yourself until your muscles are on fire!
The benefits of exercise are no secret. For example, a 20-year study of more than 3,000 adults found that for every additional hour per week people worked out in their late 20s and early 30s, they were 2% less likely to be obese as adults. However, when it comes time to start exercising after a long hiatus (or even if you never really exercised at all before), you may be nervous about getting started.