Making the decision to take your own health into your hands and start making a change in your daily routine is a big one, but it’s one that allows for a longer life full of more activity and less sadness and disease. There are so many benefits to a healthy lifestyle, and we’ve got some tips to get you started.
Congratulations on your decision to get in shape and shed pounds! Exercise promises great rewards both physically and mentally, and you won’t be disappointed. After years or months of living a sedentary lifestyle, however, getting back into exercise can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect. You may feel you lack the confidence or know-how to be successful in the fitness world, but don’t let that stop you.
Many exercise beginners make mistakes that lead to injury, burnout, or lack of results. Don’t let this happen to you. Your personal trainer is by your side to guide you through the ins and outs of exercise, but if you’re still unsure, here are a few helpful tips.
Get the Okay
Anyone with a heart condition, joint problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, or other medical condition who plans to start a new exercise program should be checked out by a physician. In rare instances, certain health conditions may actually worsen with exercise. Your doctor can recommend the best type of exercise for your condition and provide safety tips while at the gym with your trainer.
Find an exercise program that modifies itself to you and your needs. You don’t want to end up somewhere that the trainers are telling you to keep going even though you know it’s going to aggravate an injury. Keep an open line of communication open with your trainer and make sure that they understand what your needs are exactly and that they can meet them.
Couch potato to marathon runner isn’t going to happen overnight. Plan to ease into exercise by starting off slowly and gradually building the intensity and length of your workouts. A gradual reentry into physical fitness reduces your chances for injury, soreness, and burnout. Begin with just two days the first week, three the next, and so on. Start with a simple exercise like walking. Each workout, make it your goal to walk a little farther and a little longer.
And make sure you find your optimal time to workout as well. If you’re someone that struggles to get up in the morning then you’re going to skip workouts, especially since you’re not used to doing them all the time. Pick the time that’s right for you and start going consistently, you’ll enjoy it a lot more that way.
Depending on what activity you plan to do, be sure to choose the right equipment. For most, this means buying the right kind of footwear. Without proper cushioning and support you’re more likely to experience pain or injury in your feet, legs, or lower back. Let a professional help you determine the best shoe for the shape and pronation of your feet.
Other supplies you may need to consider include comfortable workout clothes, a helmet, kneepads, and gloves. If your hands aren’t used to hanging from bars or holding certain types of equipment you’ll start to develop calluses. You can wear gloves to avoid this.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Before your workout, be sure to warm up your muscles by doing a few minutes of full-body movements (jumping jacks, arm swings, squats, or light jogging). After your workout, spend a few minutes cooling down with light exercise and stretches. This routine will help prevent injury and lessen muscle soreness.
Make sure to never overstretch yourself, your cool downs should not be painful in any way. Instead your cool down is used to help your heart slow down and get oxygen-rich blood pumping into every part of your body. Don’t skip a cool down either, that’s how you end up with sore muscles for several days after.
Know When to Stop
Yes, you can expect sore muscles to set in a day or two after exercise if it’s been a while since you’ve moved your body. But if you ever feel pain in the midst of a workout, something’s not right and you should stop what you’re doing after a brief cool-down. Take the following symptoms as a cue to stop:
- pain or pressure in your chest, neck, shoulder, or left arm
- breaking out in a cold sweat
- irregular heartbeat
- muscle cramps
- a sharp pain in your joints or bones
Go for Variety
Jogging on the treadmill day in and day out is sure to get monotonous and boring. Plus, a balanced exercise routine includes cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Change things up by alternating the days you focus on cardio and strength training, with flexibility exercises mixed in. Rotate which part of the body you focus on throughout the week as well, that way your muscles have time to recover between sessions.
At Fit Body Boot Camp we have a different routine planned out each day for this exact reason, so that you can get the ultimate workout every day.
While you’ll get the most out of a balanced workout program, the most important thing is to find an exercise you enjoy stick with it.