Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. In fact, you’ll begin to see and feel the benefits consistent physical activity can have on your body and well-being quickly.
However, working exercise into your routine takes a lot of determination and sticking to it in the long term requires discipline. If you’re considering starting to exercise but don’t know where to begin, here’s all you need to know about starting a routine and sticking to it.
Common types of exercise
There are various types of exercise, including:
- Aerobic: The core of any fitness program should include some form of continuous movement. Examples include swimming, running, and dancing.
- Strength: These exercises help increase muscle power and strength. Examples include resistance training, plyometrics, weightlifting, and sprinting.
- Calisthenics: These moves are usually performed without gym equipment using large muscle groups. They’re done at a medium aerobic pace. Examples include lunges, situps, pushups, and pullups.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): This type of exercise includes repetitions of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by low-intensity exercises or rest periods.
- Boot camps: These are timed-based, high-intensity circuits that combine aerobic and resistance exercises.
- Balance or stability: These exercises are designed to strengthen muscles and improve body coordination. Examples include Pilates, tai chi poses, and core-strengthening exercises.
- Flexibility: These types of exercises help muscle recovery, maintain range of motion, and prevent injuries. Examples include yoga or individual muscle-stretch movements.
The activities above can be done individually or combined. The important thing is to do what works best for you and to have fun with it.
How to get started
It’s essential to consider a few things before starting a new workout routine.
It’s important to consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine. This is particularly important for those new to strenuous and vigorous physical activities.
It can also help you optimize your workout, making it easier for you and your personal trainer, if you choose to work with one, to understand your limitations and create an exercise plan tailored to your particular needs.
Once you decide to start exercising regularly, try to create a plan that includes attainable steps and goals.
For example, if your goal is to finish a 5-kilometer run, you can start by building a plan that includes shorter runs. Once you can finish those short runs, increase the distance until you can run the whole 5 kilometers in one session.
Starting with small achievable goals will increase your chances of success and keep you motivated every step of the way.
Another key component of exercise success is to stick to your routine. It seems to be easier for people to maintain an exercise routine in the long term if they make it a habit and do it regularly. Furthermore, making a schedule or exercising at the same time every day are good ways to sustain your routine and make it last.
A few tips for beginners
Drinking fluids throughout the day is essential for maintaining healthy hydration levels. Having a reusable water bottle to replenish your fluids during exercise is essential for maintaining optimal performance and can help you recover and get you ready for your next training session.
Be sure to consume a balanced diet to support your fitness program. All food groups are necessary to sustain healthy energy levels and get the most out of your workout.
Carbs are vital, as they can fuel your muscles before exercise. Protein helps improve muscle recovery after exercise, repairs tissue damage, and builds muscle mass. And regularly consuming healthy fats has been shown to help burn body fat and preserve muscle fuel during workouts, making your energy last longer.
It’s important to warm up before your workout. Doing so can help prevent injuries and improve your athletic performance.
Simply start your workout with some aerobic exercises like arm swings, leg kicks, and walking lunges. Alternatively, you can warm up by doing easy movements of the exercise you’re planning to do. For example, walk before you run.
Cooling down is also important because it helps your body return to its normal state.
Taking a couple of minutes to cool down can help restore normal breathing patterns and even reduce the chance of muscle soreness. Some cool-down ideas include light walking after aerobic exercise or stretching after resistance training.
If you’re not used to working out every day, be mindful of your limits. If you feel pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and rest before continuing. Pushing through the pain is not a good idea, as it can cause injuries.
Taking your time to progress through your fitness program can help you maintain your routine in the long term and make the most of it.