Are you a total newbie to exercise? Perhaps you’ve never been the most athletic type, or maybe you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for a few years and your fitness has deteriorated massively. The great thing is, even if you’re starting from the very beginning (i.e., get out of breath even walking down the street) it really doesn’t take long at all to build up your strength and endurance. If you’re a complete beginner looking to get on the road to a fitter and healthier you, here’s now you can go about it!
Speak to your GP
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s always a good idea to get the all- clear from your doctor before starting anything up. This just ensures you don’t have any pre-existing conditions that exercise could be dangerous for. Your doctor will be thrilled to hear you’re planning on making a positive change and will be supportive of this decision. In otherwise healthy people, you just need to check that all is ok with your heart and blood pressure. If you have an existing condition, you might need to follow specific advice set out by them.
Build Up Strength, Flexibility and Stability
When you’re first starting out with exercise, you don’t want to go in all guns blazing and do yourself an injury. It’s not about hopping on a piece of exercise equipment at the gym and going for the burn, you need to build up to it. First, you will want to focus on your strength, flexibility, and stability. Walking, yoga and swimming are all good low-impact exercise choices. These will help you to build a foundation of fitness of which to build on. Once you’ve reached this stage, you can start going a little heavier and building it up. Book yourself a membership at the gym, working out at a gym gives you more motivation to keep at it, and the exercise equipment can help you workout properly. Start with ten minutes on the stationary bike or cross trainer on a low resistance. Do some strength training on the weight machines (not free weights) on the lightest setting to start off. Having some strength and muscle will actually help with your cardio as you’ll be able to go longer.
Start Pushing Yourself
Once you can cycle, row, jog or use the cross trainer for ten minutes without feeling like you’re straining too hard, it’s time to up the intensity. Bump up the speed and resistance and go for the burn. Once you have built up some muscle strength and endurance, this will actually start to feel good rather than just like torture! If you’re still in the early stages and feel like every step or movement on gym equipment is hard work, push through it. It really does get easier, and you’ll find if you stick with it you enjoy it more and more. Once you start pushing yourself and feeling the difference it’s having on your mind and body, you’ll be motivated to keep it up. You could set mini goals at this stage, for example being able to jog for twenty minutes, or being able to row on a set resistance for fifteen minutes. At first, it probably seems impossible, but if you go for a minute longer each time you train you’ll be there before you know it.
Set Some Goals
Once you’ve reached a good level of fitness and are moving around and using gym equipment easily, it’s time to really set some goals. Perhaps you could sign up for a marathon or half marathon, and train towards that. Maybe you want to work towards becoming a personal trainer and helping others with their fitness goals? This article from Origym explains how you can go about it. Setting goals gives you something to work towards, exercising indefinitely can quickly get boring, and so this helps to keep you focused and on track. Even if your goals seem a long way off at first, keep going and every time you train you get that bit closer.
Keep It Up
The thing about strength and fitness is while you can build it up from nothing, you can also lose it too. If you go back to your old, sedentary routine, your body will adjust to the lack of exercise. Most people find that once they start living more healthily, they never want to go back to their old routines, state of mind and attitudes. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work, and you do have to stick at it to see results. One of the best ways to do this is to find activities you genuinely enjoy. Once you have a good level of fitness, you can join just about any class or group without worrying that you’ll fall behind or be unable to complete it. Perhaps you could take dance classes, a sport, start swimming regularly or join a group that goes on regular hikes. Make exercise part of your life, a source of enjoyment. Don’t just see it as something to ‘get out of the way’. Rope in some friends and it can double up as social time too. Plus, friends can keep you motivated and drag you out to be active if you’re feeling lazy!
Exercise is good for every single cell in your body. It strengthens muscles and bones, fuels your organs, gives you gorgeous skin and hair. It also boosts your immune system and reduces your chances of certain cancers and illnesses. It can help battle anxiety and depression, allows you to feel productive and helps you maintain a healthy weight too. Starting off with an exercise routine really is a hard slog if you’re very unfit or overweight, it’s hard to believe that anyone can find enjoyment from it. But it most definitely is possible, push through the most difficult part and you’ll soon feel yourself getting stronger and your body changing.