If you are new to exercise, getting started will seem daunting. It is normal not to know where to begin, but you will find your way, even if it takes some trial and error. More importantly, if you are looking to get started, it means you have made the decision to get active. Being active alone is a step forward, especially if you are not in great shape.
Before you embark on a new exercise program, be sure to get your doctor’s approval. Make sure your heart, your joints and your blood sugar readings are up to it. If you are to get fit, improve your health, and ultimately improve your quality of life, you will need to have an exercise program sorted along with a time that works for you.
Let’s go over the essentials of a physically active lifestyle…
The basics. First, let us start with the basics. These are your staples because they are necessary to ensure your workouts are effective.
You should always begin a workout with a warm up. Anything that raises your heart rate for a few minutes will do. Good examples include…
- five minutes on a bike,
- a few sets of jumping jacks, and
- dynamic stretches (moving stretches where you do not hold the tension).
A warm up prepares your body for activity and minimizes the chance you will pull a muscle or get injured. At the end of a workout, you can do some static stretches if you like. With static stretches you hold the tension, promoting increased flexibility.Cardio. Cardio needs no introduction. Running, cycling, and stair climbing are the preferred cardio exercises for many people. Cardio is good for weight loss and helps to promote cardiovascular health.
That said, don’t believe intense activities are the only ways of doing cardio. Walking is cardio as well and is by far the most sustainable form of exercise.
Resistance training. Don’t be so quick to dismiss resistance training. Even if you are not interested in muscle and body composition, resistance training provides clear health benefits that make it beneficial for everyone in some way.
You could get started with simple bodyweight exercises…
- lunges, and
- a dozen different core/abdominal exercises
could all be done in the comfort of your home.Alternative forms of exercise. Fitness classes, dance classes, and yoga are all alternative forms of exercise that can be a part of your training program. Try out different forms of exercise – you may be surprised to find yourself enjoying something you never imagined doing.
Determine your goals. There are many ways to exercise. In creating your program, you should determine your goal(s) and plan accordingly…
- strictly weight loss? Focus on cardio and monitor your calories.
- lower blood sugar? Cardio helps but don’t forget about resistance training.
- improve your overall health? You could do a bit of everything. What’s crucial is you are physically active, regardless of what you are doing.
As you begin to enjoy exercise, you will learn more about what works best for you. Start by training a few times a week. From there, play it by ear; make adjustments as you go.Exercising is investing in your health.