Tips on getting started with exercise.
If you're new to exercise (or thinking about starting), take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking the first (and one of the hardest) steps towards a healthier lifestyle! Being new can be both exciting and overwhelming, but we've got some exercise tips to set you up for success.
1) Slow and steady wins the race.
While it may be tempting to jump straight in with a 'hell for leather' approach, this rarely leads to long-term success. Instead, we recommend starting your new exercise routine slowly and gradually increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. For example, if you've decided to add a brisk morning walk to your routine, you might start walking around 1 block, and increase a block every couple of weeks.
2) Listen to thy body.
As you start to move more, start paying attention to how your body feels - not only before you exercise, but during and afterwards. For example, you may feel 'flat' with energy prior to exercising, or perhaps you feel more energetic. You might notice that you become breathless and sweat during exercise, or perhaps you don't sweat much. Be aware of these changes in your body, as they can help to give you a 'baseline' for how your body responds to exercise. Your body can also be good guide for letting you know if you're tired or over-doing things. When you're starting out, aim to include at least one rest day between each of your workouts.
3) Set realistic goals, then make a plan.
Having a clear goal in mind will help keep you motivated and focused. Grab a piece of paper and write out what you want to achieve - whether it's improving cardiovascular fitness, building strength or losing weight. Then, start to think about some mini goals from that bigger goal. For example, if you are wanting to be able to walk 5km non-stop as your goal in 6 months, you might break this down into 3x walkers per week, starting at 10 minutes and increase gradually. Your plan may need to be adjusted - and that's normal, and sometimes it may be helpful to seek out guidance.
4) Ask for help.
Getting assistance from a qualified fitness professional can often save you a lot of energy, time, and reduce the amount of guesswork. A good trainer should listen to you and be able to design a tailored exercise program based on your goals, needs and current fitness level. Good trainers will also provide you with safe and effective exercise instructions.
5) Consistency is key.
Consistency is key when it comes to starting a new habit. Doing one amazing workout every 2 weeks won't be nearly as effective as completing shorter, less intensive workouts 3-4 times per week. Start by looking at your weekly schedule to get yourself organised. Then pick exercises/activities that you enjoy (or completed with someone you like), which can often help to make exercise something you look forward to or feel less like exercise.
Getting started with exercise may seem daunting at first, but by taking it one step at a time, listening to your body, setting realistic goals & planning, seeking guidance when needed and staying consistent - you'll be well on your way towards taking better control of your health through regular exercise.