Well you are finally there. You’re finally inspired to start an exercise program after years of ignoring your health and fitness. But, how should you begin with an exercise program? Try these 10 exercise tips for beginners.
1. Be Evaluated. If you do not currently exercise and are over age 40 you should be evaluated by a physician, or if healthy be screened by a health and fitness specialist before embarking on an exercise program. This will uncover any potential health risks that may require further work-up and/or lead to modification of your exercise program. Also, information can be gathered to establish your baseline before starting an exercise program and serve as a reference point to measure your progress.
2. Set Realistic Goals: Determine your goals and be specific as possible. Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “ I want to lose 20 pounds in 5 months.” Or, “I want to bench press 200 pounds in 6 weeks.”
3. Schedule the Time and Be Consistent: Find the best time for you of the day and best days of the week for you to exercise. Depending on the intensity of the work out as little as 20 minutes can be enough to move you towards your goals. Being regular is a major key to improving your fitness. A little exercise nearly every day is better than exercising 3 hours one day a week.
4. Be sure to warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes before each exercise session and cool down for a similar amount of time. Flexibility exercises can be incorporated into the warm up and cool down periods. This will minimize injury and facilitate muscle recovery.
5. Strength/Resistance Training is a Must: Many beginners focus on aerobic exercises, but strength/resistance training is the only way to maintain and build muscle mass and strength, which decrease with age. This decrease is more from inactivity than it is from the aging process. Muscles burn more calories than fat tissue, so if losing body fat is a goal, strength/resistance training will be more beneficial than aerobic exercises. Strength training also protects bone density and strength.
Of all the exercise tips this may be the most important. Strength is the key to a high quality of life and being able to carry out daily activities of living as we age.
6. Hit All Components of Fitness: In addition to strength/resistance exercises also do some cardio and flexibility exercises on a regular basis.
7. Focus on Exercises you Enjoy: There’s no sense running if you really hate running. At the same time don’t be afraid to try an exercise you’ve never done before. Keep in mind that developing new skills takes time.
8. Consider a Personal Trainer: If your budget allows consider working with a personal trainer for the first 4 to 6 weeks. Having a coach instruct you on proper technique and use of machines as well as providing motivation can make exercising more pleasurable, more rewarding, and increase the odds of reaching your goals.
9. Listen to your Body: Only perform strength/resistance training within your pain free range of motion. If you’re experiencing some muscle or joint pain modify your workouts to avoid stressing that particular body part. If the pain persists see your doctor.
10. Have Fun: Approach your workouts with a good attitude and have some fun. Workout with a friend and take advantage of the opportunity to develop new friendships. Socializing is also important to good health.
Try these exercise tips and enjoy exercise while you enjoy the health and fitness benefits that come along with it.
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