Starting a new exercise routine is hard for everyone, but it can be especially difficult if you haven’t exercised in a while and are carrying extra pounds. Understanding what activity to do, when to do it, and how to do it can suck the motivation out of anyone.
So how do you get started?
Use this guide to find an exercise you might enjoy. Then check your local community center, gym, or hospital to find an exercise program to suit your needs. You can also check with your employer. Many office buildings have a small gym that is free to employees or offers a corporate wellness program.
Before starting any new exercise, check with your Doctor or Care Team to make sure the exercise is right for you. If you are on medications, ask your health care team if you need to follow any special procedure to monitor your exercise intensity.
Make sure you have the proper footwear and gear you’ll need like comfortable and supportive tennis shoes, athletic apparel that will be comfortable during exercise, and a water bottle. You may want to bring a small snack like a granola bar to eat right after a workout.
How do you choose an exercise activity?
The top rule for starting any exercise is to keep it simple and take your time. Starting with too much intensity can potentially lead to an injury or overexert yourself. When choosing an exercise, start with low-impact activities that allow you to gradually increase your intensity, but most importantly, choose one you enjoy doing. Here are the top four to consider:
There’s a reason why walking is always top on the list for best physical activities- it requires little equipment, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s safe. You can easily increase the intensity or scale down to meet your needs, and it’s a perfect starting point to get you into an exercise routine.
To start, walk 15 minutes at a brisk pace- your heart rate should be elevated, or 100 steps per minute. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes of walking and increase your intensity, to your comfort level, by adding speed, carrying hand weights, or climbing stairs. In the beginning, consistency is more important than intensity, so start easy and work your way up to the 30-minute goal with added intensity.
Water exercises are great for anyone who is overweight and starting to exercise. These activities minimize the pressure placed on joints when exercising while burning calories. Lap swimming is too intense for beginners, but water jogging is a great intro to water activities. It’s simply running in water with the help of a pool float.
To start, stand waist deep in the pool and do some jumping jacks. Then move deeper until your feet don’t touch the ground. Move your legs like you are running, and you will begin to move across the pool. Run in place for 10-15 minutes.
GROUP FITNESS OR AEROBICS CLASS
A great way stick to an exercise routine is to develop a social support group in it. Group exercise classes, like Zumba or Step, are not only fun but also a great activity to do with friends. Many types of people join these classes so there’s a variety to choose from, and the instructors scale the intensity of the class to meet the needs of the group.
To start, arrive early to class and meet the instructor. Let them know you are new and a beginner. The instructor will provide guidance and ways to modify the exercise to suit your needs and make sure you are safe and comfortable in class.
Stationary Bike- Biking is a great way to burn calories with less impact on your joints, and there are a variety of bikes to choose from. Stationary bikes allow you to easily track your distance and pace and add intensity as you become comfortable with the exercise without adding strain to your joints. If you need more back support, use a bike with a lower seat that has a back support.
To start, lower the resistance by turning the knob until you can comfortably peddle. Peddle for 5 min and rest for a minute. Continue this sequence for a total of 15 to 20 minutes. You can gradually make it more challenging by turning the knob and adding reactance to your peddling, but remember, take it slow until you get comfortable with the exercise.
Now, go lace up your shoes, grab some water, and get active! Make sure to share your new activities with us so we can celebrate your new accomplishment with you!