Even more difficult than starting a new diet for most people is incorporating exercise into their daily routine. You not only have to make time in your busy schedule, but exercise is hard! And yet, if you want to remain fit and healthy, there are few better ways than by adding exercise. Plus, over time you’ll start to look and feel better. But how do you start an exercise routine, much less stick to it? Here are a few tips to help get you on track for a lifetime love affair with physical fitness.
The first thing to do is find a physical activity you enjoy. This will require you to try new things. Of course, you might have to start off with exercise options that aren’t too strenuous. If it’s been a while since you last exercised and you’ve gained some weight in the interim, you might not be able to undertake the same level of fitness activities you enjoyed in the past. If you were once a runner, a basketball player, or some other type of athlete, your muscle memory will return over time. But you need to ease your body back into shape or you’ll end up injuring yourself and derailing any progress you’ve made.
In other words, start slow. If you get winded going up a flight of stairs, you can hardly expect to run a marathon your first day out. You could start simply enough by walking a mile or two in your neighborhood or heading to the gym for a half-hour at a time on the treadmill or elliptical machine. And you’ll probably want to lift some weights and incorporate stretching into your routine to increase strength and flexibility even as you improve your cardiovascular health.
But walking and lifting weights can be rather dull. So think about sampling a variety of exercise classes, from aerobics and spinning, to yoga and Pilates, to Crossfit. You could also undertake outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and jogging as you start to get in better shape. And from there you might think about joining local adult sporting leagues for softball or soccer, just for example. Eventually you’ll start to get an idea of what you enjoy and what you’re good at where physical fitness pursuits are concerned.
Now that you’ve started exercising, think about how you’re going to stay motivated. This is essential if you want to continue your exercise indefinitely. There are several options to explore. The first thing you need to do is plan. Set aside time each day to add fitness to your schedule. And if you don’t have necessary equipment at home, join a gym like Orangetheory Fitness that can provide what you need. Or if you work better with someone nipping at your heels to keep you going, hiring a personal trainer could do the trick.
If you get bored easily, think about adding a social aspect by exercising with friends. You could also take your fitness routine to the next level by adding a competitive element. If you like jogging, sign up for a 5K a month from now to force you to keep going and push harder. Next time, sign up for a 10K. Starting isn’t as difficult as staying on the wagon, so to speak, so once you find an activity you enjoy, figure out the best ways to motivate yourself to continue.