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Exercise 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Fitness

Women Exercise Class

Exercise for Beginners

We have all been beginners at one time or another. Most people would agree that starting anything new can be daunting, complicated, and even tiresome. Getting fit is no exception. There are tons of exercise routines to examine and an overwhelming amount of fitness advice available on television, in books, online, and on social media. With this information overload it can be hard to know what’s really best for your body or where to start. Rest assured; exercise doesn’t have to be hard, even for beginners. With a few simple tricks, strategic workouts, and a little dedication you can be on your way to a healthier body inside and out.

Woman Jog Down Stairs

Is fitness all it’s cracked up to be?

On a daily basis you probably hear about the importance of exercise. The messenger may be a doctor, a well-meaning stranger, friends, or even family members. However, the message is always the same – you should exercise to stay fit. While it may seem like a played-out tune, exercise can be extremely powerful for both your body and your mind. Exercise is one of the foremost ways to prevent disease. Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough to drastically reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.

Along with protecting your body, exercise can help improve your sleep quality, your mood, and alleviates some of the symptoms of depression. Simply put, following a fitness routine may be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Starting Strong

We’ve established that exercise is good for you. Now where do you start? Most healthcare professionals would agree that slow and steady is the best way to get fit. You may be geared up and ready to go, but doing too much too quickly will likely do more harm than good.

Start by having a conversation with your doctor about your health and what exercises may be right for you. A simple checkup can leave you confident and well informed before you start your fitness journey. So have a physical exam, talk about any limitations you have, or ask your doctor questions about starting a fitness plan. This a great way to start off strong.

Once you’ve received your doctor’s approval, make some goals. Write down what it is that you would like to achieve. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, lift a certain weight, or run a certain distance. Whatever your goal is, make it realistic by setting small achievable milestones that you can check off your list until you reach your ultimate goal. Above all else, find your motivation. Making exercise a habit is arguably one of the most important things you can do when starting a fitness journey. Exercise takes time to get used to, so find your ‘why’. Knowing why you want to get fit will help you stay focused and dedicated to your workout routine.

Start Moving

While there is no one size fits all workout for beginners, for most people a combination of resistance training, cardio, and flexibility exercises add up to a well-rounded fitness routine.

Women with Stretch Cords

Resistance Training

Resistance training, or strength training, is among one of the most popular forms of exercise out there, and with good reason. Resistance training is one of the best ways to slow age-related muscle and bone degradation. It’s also a great way to strengthen your joints. This will help you stay mobile and active now and in the future. Try incorporating resistance bands or light weights into your exercise routine at least 2-3 times a week. This will help you strengthen your entire body, build lean muscle, and can even boost your metabolism all at the same time.

Cardio

Cardio is so much more than just running, so don’t limit yourself. Anything that gets you moving continuously and keeps your heart pumping counts as cardio. This can be anything from swimming, jogging, biking, and even dancing. As long as you’re huffing a little, you’re doing cardio. It can even be as simple as taking a brisk walk in the park or biking to and from work. Most health care professionals recommend doing the talk test as you exercise. If you can carry out a simple conversation without being too out of breath, you’re in a good zone, but if you can talk a lot or sing a song you may need to ramp up the intensity of your exercise. According to the American Heart Association, you should try to achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day. So do your best to incorporate cardio where you can.

Flexibility

Many beginners often make the mistake of focusing too much on cardio and strength training when they begin exercising. While they are both great for your body, stretching and exercise routines that improve your flexibility, like yoga, are important in any workout routine. Start by stretching every morning and every night before bed.  Not only is this relaxing and therapeutic for your body, but it can help improve your range of motion, loosen your joints, and keep yourself limber.

Yoga One Leg Pose

Final Points

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s never too late to start. Beginners should implement a combination of cardio, strength training, and stretching exercises into their workout routine. While it is important to exercise, start slow and steady. Allow your body time to adjust, then keep at it. The key is to be realistic, plan ahead, set achievable goals, and commit to them. Then, with a little time and dedication you can be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

– How to Start Exercising: A Beginner’s Guide to Working Out

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-start-exercising

 

– Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Exercise

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/fitness-beginners-guide#1

 

– A Guide to Exercise for Beginners

https://www.verywellfit.com/fitness-beginners-4157163