healthy african american woman walking with weights

New to Exercising? Here is Your Beginner’s Guide.

Getting Started

Exercise has many benefits, including boosting your energy, improving your sleep, elevating your mood, and controlling weight. Though you know the benefits and want to experience them, getting started is sometimes the hardest part. Overcoming the mental block of starting is just the beginning. You have to set realistic expectations and goals, understand that getting physically fit is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to truly believe that the only way to fail is to stop trying. 

Always start by talking with your doctor, especially if you are a woman over the age of 55, a man over the age of 45 or if you have any major health conditions. You usually can work out in some capacity but talking with your doctor first will ensure that you are safely capable of beginning your chosen activity.

How Much Should You Work Out?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. Break this up however you wish, whether it is five days a week for 30 minutes or working out every other day for 35 to 40 minutes. If you can add more, do so, but only when you are ready.

Start Slow

You should always start your new exercise routine slowly. Many exercise beginners start much too aggressively. This leads to soreness, exhaustion, and, quite possibly, injury. Others get disappointed because they do not see the immediate results that they expected from an intense workout routine. This leads to abandoning exercise altogether. You should begin by developing new habits that fit into your daily routine, increasing the chance that you will stick with them.

Ready to Start Working Out?

Before you begin an exercise routine, it is important to warm up. Warming up prepares your body for the stress that your workout will put on your body. A great way to warm up is to walk slowly to start increasing your blood flow, which warms up your joints and muscles. Once you’ve warmed up, stretch lightly and get ready to begin.

What Should You Do?

There are several types of exercises and the most important one is to find something you enjoy doing  – or you’re likely not going to continue. The three main types are cardiovascular activity, strength training and flexibility training. Although it is good to incorporate each into your weekly workout routine, talk with your doctor and do what is best for you, your lifestyle and your goals. Check out our Workout Routine Ideas for Weight Loss for great recommendations. Remember that exertion counts. Whether you are taking a quick walk to break up your day, parking in the back of the parking lot while shopping or briskly walking up the stairs, it all adds up.

Quick Tips

Keep these tips in mind regardless of the kind of exercise you’re doing.

  • Stay hydrated before, during and after your workout.
  • Optimize your nutrition plan to support your fitness program.
  • Take a few minutes to cool down after each workout to help your body return to its normal state.
  • Listen to your body and be aware of your limits.

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