It’s a new year — and maybe, this year you are ready to take your health seriously.
We have so much information available to us, yet only a select portion of the population choose to live a truly healthy, sustainable life. Why is that?
Although there are many factors involved, when it comes to exercise — most people struggle to get started. Once a routine is established, staying fit simply becomes second nature — but how do you get to that point? How can you push yourself to start exercising, and in turn, support a positive wellbeing?
Here is a guide to get you motivated, helping you move towards a healthy, high-quality life.
How to Begin an Exercise Program That Works for You
We often hear about these ‘cookie-cutter’ workout plans that ensure optimal results.
There’s just one major issue — we’re not all the same. You are a unique individual, which is why you need to create a plan that suits your personal needs. As a beginner, you need to ask yourself some key questions. Depending on your answers, you’ll then have a better idea of what you want to do.
At the end of the day, you need to make your exercise routine at least somewhat enjoyable. This will be one of your greatest motivating factors. If you want to exercise, you’ll maintain you’re new, more active schedule. Before you begin, ask yourself these kinds of questions:
- Why is it that you want to exercise? Do you want to lose weight? Improve cardiovascular health? Boost your mood? It’s important that you’re aware of your end goal.
- Would you like to spend more time outdoors in nature?
- Are you motivated by competition, or do you prefer to workout solo?
- How flexible is your schedule?
- Are you a morning or a night person?
- Who will be your support system?
You need to consider what’s best for you — so that you increase the odds that you’ll continue, week after week. Once you have created a workout routine that fits your needs, here’s how to get started.
If You’re a Beginner, Here’s How to Start Exercising
We often think of exercise as a means to lose weight. Although this is most certainly a core benefit, the effects of exercise span much further. From depression to heart disease, exercise acts as both a preventive measure and possible treatment plan. If you’re just getting started, here’s how to stick to it:
Related Article: 6 Simple Exercises to Build Perfect Booty
Set a time limit, play within it
In order to get the most out of your routine, you’ll want to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Whether that means you take a brisk walk or cycle, you need to be active for at least 30 minutes out of each day. You may need to exercise for longer, depending on your goal.
With that being said, if you only have 20 minutes to kill on your lunch break — don’t get the impression that these 20 minutes are useless. ANY exercise is better than no exercise. Even if you have to break out a mat and do yoga for 10 minutes before bed, anything is better than nothing. This is key because, without consistency, you will never develop healthier habits.
Go low and slow
At this point, your goals will already be realistic and clear. Although it’s great to know where you’re going and where you want to be — don’t overwhelm yourself with the big picture. Some individuals think I have to lose 30 pounds — at this rate, I’ll never make it. With that kind of attitude, you may very well give up.
If you start out too aggressively, you may 1) hurt yourself — or 2) give up before you have achieved any measurable results. The key is to start off small — don’t overexert yourself. This is one of the most common beginner mistakes. Instead of being too aggressive then giving up before you can experience benefits over the long haul, slowly develop new habits.
It will be these new, healthy habits that produce sustainable, long-term results. When you create new routines, they are something that you can more easily stick with for a lifetime. Once you learn to live a healthier lifestyle, you will also experience a greater quality of life.
Switch It Up
Regardless of your goals, you will want to incorporate a mixture of both cardio and strengthening exercises. If you just go jogging once a day, every day, you will likely get bored. Also, you’ll be working for the same muscle groups over and over, while ignoring other key areas of your body. Work a combination of the following into your routine:
- Aerobic — all cardio exercises
- Resistance — all strength and weight-bearing exercises
- Flexibility — including yoga
- Balance — especially important for aging individuals
Grab a Friend
Why not hit two birds with one stone? Get fit while increasing social time? Whether you want to go cycling or sign-up for a Pilates class, ask a friend to do it with you. Be sure to ask someone who has similar goals in mind, acting as a support system for one another. You should also encourage one another to follow a more balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Share recipes and ideas!
At the end of the day, in order to be successful, you need to understand the importance of education, inspiration, and support. Know HOW you can get in-shape, WHY you want to get in shape, and WHO will support you along the way. You can take control of your health, and ultimately your life.
Just remember, “If it doesn’t challenge you — it doesn’t change you.”
I’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad, and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!