Feeling sluggish? Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight — and even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem. Scroll down below as we break down how to create a fitness plan that’s right for you.
To be clear, weight loss as a goal isn’t necessarily for everyone. For anyone who has a history of disordered eating, even if you’re in recovery, you should speak with a doctor before you pursue any weight-loss goal, including starting a new exercise routine.
Also, (and I can’t stress this enough) it’s really important to have realistic expectations and make sure you’re pursuing weight loss in a healthy way. Results can be incredibly difficult to come by, may take a very long time to achieve, and are also really hard to maintain. Plus, exercise is only part of the equation. Your eating habits matter and so does getting enough sleep and keeping stress levels low.
That being said, here’s the first rule: Put it on paper. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track. Now here’s the rest of the steps to get started with your first fitness plan…
Start a Balanced Routine
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefits.
Start Low and Progress Steady
If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength, and endurance.
Build Activity Into Your Daily Routine
Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work.
Plan to Include Different Activities
Different activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training using low-impact forms of activity, such as biking or water exercise, also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming, and strength training.
Try High-Interval Intensity Training
In high-interval intensity training, you perform short bursts of high-intensity activity separated by recovery periods of low-intensity activity. Here’s a link to some great HIIT training to get you started.
Allow Time for Recovery
Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
Did this help you get on your way to a first-rate fitness plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts at email@example.com. Also, please be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive more great blog tips straight to your inbox each Friday.