Your life is not one-size-fits-all, so why should your workout be? It is practically impossible to escape advertising for a seemingly endless number of fitness trends, but just because a workout is popular or works for someone else does not necessarily mean it is the best fit for you. When starting a fitness routine, it is important to focus on what fits your unique lifestyle, interests, and fitness level.
The first step to starting any new exercise program is to consult your doctor. A healthcare professional can help you determine what forms of exercise are safe for you and can help you reach your personal fitness goals. Next, think about the kinds of physical activity you enjoy. The best workout is one that you can do consistently and stick with in the long run. Start with familiar activities you like. If you don’t like going to the gym, try hiking, riding a bike, or playing a game of tennis.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! You could find an activity you love by learning to windsurf, play ultimate Frisbee, or ballroom dance and get a great workout at the same time. If you are more of a couch potato or are out of shape, start slow and work on incorporating movement into your daily routine.
Walking is a great way to start. Try beginning with ten-minute walks and gradually increase your time by about three minutes per week until you can walk for 30 to 60 minutes per day. Another option is to try exercise games available on video game consoles. You can get a low-to-medium intensity workout while having a blast!
Making sure that you are well-equipped for the types of activities you do can help you to avoid injuries and give you maximum results. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Make sure that you choose shoes that fit well and are appropriate for your body type and activity. Some stores will help you analyze your feet and stride to help you get the right fit.
- Don’t skip the protective gear. Wear appropriate helmets, padding, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats.
- Wear proper workout clothing. Make sure that you choose garments made of soft materials with few or covered seams to avoid uncomfortable chafing. Also, choose activity-appropriate clothes: avoid baggy pants when cycling and flowy tops for yoga poses, and be sure to buy pieces you can layer during colder months if you exercise outdoors.
- Don’t forget the girls! For women, wearing a proper sports bra can help to avoid discomfort and maximize your fitness routine. Get measured to find the right fit – most women do not wear the correct size. Also, make sure to choose a bra that works well for your body; classic compression sports bras work best for women with small to medium breasts (A and B cups), while women with larger breasts would do better with an encapsulated sports bra that separates and supports each breast.
Try using fitness technology to stay motivated and track your progress. There are hundreds of devices and apps that can help you to keep track of your fitness goals, show your progress, and even make fitness suggestions. From the simple to the truly high tech, there is a fitness gadget for everyone!
- Be sure to discuss a fitness routine with your doctor before beginning, especially if you have any injuries or medical conditions.
- Take your time: When starting a new exercise routine, start slow and work up to longer, more intense workouts. Always warm up and cool down with stretching and slower walking.
- Listen to your body: If you experience pain, dizziness, or are short of breath, be sure to take a break. If these feelings persist, seek medical help immediately. If you aren’t feeling great or are pushing yourself too hard, it is good to take a few days off to avoid injury.
- Be creative: Don’t forget to change up your routine and try new things. Try getting the entire family together on the weekend to keep each other motivated and have fun together.
- Ask for help: An exercise professional can help you customize a new routine, try new activities, and cross-train. Cross-training helps you to exercise different muscles, avoid injury through overuse of one muscle or joint, and can help give you a more complete workout to include strength, cardio, and flexibility activities.