One of the best things you can do for yourself is to begin a regular exercise routine. You owe it to yourself to feel the benefits of regular exercise on your overall health.
We get it, though — incorporating exercise to your daily routine takes more than just motivation; it takes a serious amount of commitment and discipline as well.
Therefore, if you’re at the crossroads wondering if you should take the leap and start getting fit, read on: we’re going to give you a quick rundown on everything you need to know about beginning an exercise routine — and sticking with it.
Reasons why you should exercise
There’s no question about it — regular exercise is an essential aspect of health, and doing so drastically improves your health.
A healthy body weight, body mass index, and muscle mass are among the main benefits of exercise, apart from lessening your chronic illness risks.
Moreover, exercise can bolster your mood, improve your mental health, enhance your sleep quality, and even boost your sexual performance.
And last, but not the least, exercising helps you keep high energy levels. Improved mental function, reduced chronic disease risks, and weight loss: what’s not to love?
Common exercise types include aerobics, resistance (or weight) training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), calisthenics, balance, and boot camps. They can be done individually or combined as necessary. Proper form is a must, which is why you’ll want to consider hiring a personal trainer to help you work out the kinks, avoid injuries, and get you to practice impeccable form in no time.
Getting started with exercise
One just doesn’t exercise willy-nilly — there are several action items that need to be addressed before going on a new exercise program.
- Consult your doctor and get yourself checked. Before anything else, it’s essential to consult your primary health care provider and get a full physical before embarking on an exercise routine. Especially more so when you are a total newbie to strenuous physical exertion. An early physical can determine any underlying health problems or conditions that can put your health at risk during strenuous exertion. Moreover, consulting your doctor makes it easier for your personal trainer to adjust to your health limitations so that they can create a bespoke routine to your exact needs.
- Plan and set achievable milestones. Once your doctor has cleared you, and once you’ve taken the decision to exercise on a regular basis, it would be helpful to create an action plan with achievable goals and milestones. Start small and work your way towards bigger goals as your fitness levels increase. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither should you try. For instance, if your goal is to bench press 250 pounds, create a plan that includes set weight milestones. Once you achieve those milestones, say, lifting 50 pounds first, as you increase the weight until you can do 250 pounds in one session. Starting with small goals increases your chances of succeeding, while keeping the fire of motivation burning. Once your motivation is in check, turn exercise into a habit by making it part and parcel of your routine.
- Stick to it. One of the key components of successful exercise is also one of the simplest things to do: and it is to stick to it and stay committed to your routine. It’s easier to stay disciplined when exercise is part of your daily routine — and that is what will make it a sustainable one that stays with you over the long term. Replacing old unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or drinking and replacing it with, say, exercise is a way to make behavioral changes sustainable over the long run. Moreover, sticking to a set time of exercise every day is another way to inculcate and keep the routine. Try working out the first thing in the morning, or right after work. Whatever you decide, choose a time that works for you — and more importantly, one you can stick to. Bottom of Form
The challenge of staying motivated
Motivation is what gets you going, but discipline is what will see you through. Granted, it’s hard to stay motivated at times, especially during those days when you wish to do just nothing. One of the secret keys to staying motivated is to make exercise a fun, pleasurable habit.
Mix up and match activities that you enjoy. Furthermore, if you wish, joining a class or a gym, or engaging in team sports are other ways to stay fit while retaining your motivation. There is no shortage of classes, activities, and sports you can join to help you overcome the challenge of staying motivated. Bring a friend to exercise with for better accountability and encouragement. Just remember to keep it fun, don’t be afraid to try new things, be accountable, and don’t forget to monitor your progress to stay motivated.
There’s no ifs and buts about it — embarking on a new exercise routine is a challenging task especially if you’re just starting out your fitness journey. But starting with achievable, realistic goals, and staying disciplined will help you create a sustainable exercise routine for life. There’s no shortage of physical activities for you to try, explore, and choose from — choose the ones that are most appropriate for you and remember to mix it up in order to drive the ennui away.
The key is to start in a slow, deliberate pace until your fitness levels are high enough, and of course never forget to dedicate some time for rest and recovery. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be rewarding. Don’t wait until it’s too late — exercise today.