Exercise; How to Get Started...
It's important to consider a few things before you start an exercise routine.
1. Check Your Health
It's important to consult your doctor and get a physical medical examination before starting an exercise routine.
This is particularly important for those who are not used to strenuous physical activities, as well as individuals aged 45 and over.
An early checkup can detect any health problems or conditions that could put you at risk of an injury during exercise.
It can also help you optimize your workout, making it easier for you and your personal trainer to understand your limitations and create an exercise plan tailored to your particular needs.
2. Make a Plan and Set Realistic Goals
Once you decide to start exercising regularly, try to create a plan that includes attainable steps and goals.
One way to do this is to start with a plan of easy steps to follow. Then you can continue building on it as your fitness level improves.
For example, if your goal is to finish a five-kilometer run, you can start by building a plan that includes shorter runs.
Once you are able to finish those short runs, increase the distance until you can run the whole five kilometers continuously.
Starting with small goals will not only increase your chances of success, it will also keep you motivated every step of the way.
3. Make It a Habit
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 (10Trusted Source).
A review of studies concluded that replacing an unhealthy behavior with a new healthy habit is a great approach to maintaining it in the long term (10Trusted Source).
Furthermore, making a schedule or exercising at the same time every day are good ways to sustain your routine and make it last.
For example, you can make exercise a habit by planning to work out right after work every day.
Before you start working out, get a health check-up and make a plan with realistic goals. Then, make exercise a habit by incorporating it into your daily routine.
How Much Exercise Should You Do?
You don't need to be a high-performance athlete or used to working out for hours to start exercising today.
The American College of Sports Medicine's current recommendations for physical activity include at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
These 150 minutes can be configured any way you want. For example, you can do a 30-minute workout five times a week or a 35 to 40-minute workout every other day.
However, recent studies have shown that packing this minimum requirement into one or two training sessions per week can be as beneficial as spreading the sessions throughout the week (12Trusted Source).
Overall, it's important to start slowly and increase the intensity as you build your fitness level up.
Lastly, even though a daily amount of physical activity is needed for good health, allowing your body to rest is important too.
Not letting your body recover from the stress of exercise increases the risk of injuries, such as muscle strains and stress fractures, and can result in overtraining syndrome (OTS).
Exercising too much can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk of infection, hormonal imbalances, depressed mood and chronic fatigue (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
The minimum recommendation for exercise is at least 150 minutes per week. However, it is important to start slowly and let your body rest from time to time.