For whatever reason, you may not have an active exercise programme. Whether you’re looking to pick up where you left off or starting from scratch, you may notice that when you get to it, it will be a little tough.
So, for this months’ Fitness Feature, we’ve compiled a 6-point guide for starting out on your fitness journey.
Have a check-up
It’s always worth getting a health MOT before starting on an exercise programme, particularly if you’re led a pretty sedentary lifestyle or are dealing with a pre-existing medical condition.
This will ensure that any risk of injury or health complications are identified from the outset, and your programme adjusted accordingly. Your doctor can help make necessary recommendations for your training programme as well that is specific to your health needs.
Your heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol should be reviewed as minimum as part of your health MOT, as should an overview of your current lifestyle.
Your likely to have to overcome a few obstacles as you introduce an exercise regime. You may find you come down with a cold or the flu as your body releases free radicals; you may also feel more tired and your body aching as it adapts to this change.
It’s a balance of not pressuring yourself too much and still getting out and about when you’re feeling a little sluggish, you just need to adapt accordingly.
Set yourself a little routine of when you intend to exercise and depending on how you feel will depend on what you do. If you’re feeling a little tired or run down, a brisk walk may be better than sweating it out at the gym or pushing yourself to go for that run. Allocate sufficient time to your routine but just do what you can until you build up strength.
The best success for an exercise routine is flexibility. Putting too much on your shoulders may only set you up to fail. There are times when our fitness takes a hit for something else. Don’t give yourself a hard time for a missed session.
As you build up your strength and routines, you can be a bit more structured with your fitness planning. Be sure to allocate time in your diary like you would any other activity to ensure you meet your fitness goals and determine what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it.
Be sure that you get the minimum 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes if you’re doing something more vigorous.
To get the most holistic workout, you need to incorporate cardio, strength and flexibility training in your programme. As highlighted above, initially you may do shorter programmes, work with smaller weights and/or do lower reps to begin with but you can build on these as you get stronger.
As you’re starting out, try lots of different programmes and routines to find something you really like doing. More people fail because they do what they think they should be doing rather than what they enjoy.
There are plenty of exercise options out there to allow you to get in your cardio, strength and flexibility training, so you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy doing and will mean you’ll get greater success from it.
Listen to your body
You may be enthusiastic about getting out there and building on your fitness but it’s important to respond to what your body is saying.
You can always adjust your programme to do what you feel comfortable and able to do that day. It may be just a brisk walk, a little stretching or half the lengths you normally can. Some days you may not be able to do anything at all. If you have a headache, upset stomach or a really bad cold, take the day off; rest and recuperate.
If you’re muscles are struggling with the new regime, be sure to incorporate a lot of stretching into your day, book in for a massage to help alleviate tension or hop in a bath with some Epsom salts to help relax muscles.
Working out when you’re not well or coping with an injury will only put you at a greater risk of further or worsening your symptoms. Self-care should always be a number one priority.
Go to an induction
If you’re new to the gym or haven’t been for a while, be sure to book in for an induction with a trainer. It’s not only valuable at being shown how all the new equipment works and what it can do for you but it’ll help to keep you safe.
You may even take it one step further and book an introductory session with a personal trainer so you can get a programme tailored to you. This is particularly ideal if you’ve got a certain goal to meet. An additional benefit of working with a personal trainer as you’re starting out is they can be your motivator to stick to your exercise schedule.
Physical activity helps to reduce your risk of disease and chronic conditions, mental health, improving sleep quality, lose weight, build self-esteem and so much more. It’s important to ensure you get enough physical exercise every week but doing it in a way that is right for you. If you’re looking for more inspiration, we’ve shared some of our popular Fitness Features below.