As this year as progressed, my health has improved drastically! I’ve lost 46 pounds by focusing upon nutrition and exercising regularly. If you’d have asked me last December and if I felt open enough, I would have told you that I was frightened to begin exercising simply because I didn’t know where to begin.
The thought of taking my 211 pound, 5’4″ frame to the gym and forcing it to move like an athlete was overwhelming. The good news is that I did indeed get moving, I faced that fear and went to a local gym and worked out at a light level to begin with. As I look back, I just know there are folks out there who feel the same as I did and I wanted to pass along 5 exercise tips which have been beneficial for me.
5 Exercise Tips for Beginners
Start Slowly & Work Up Gradually
If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, the last thing you want to do is end up with an injury because you pushed your body too far. Depending on your current fitness level your initial plan will vary. Don’t just jump on board with a plan to work out 5 days a week. Begin by upping your level of exercise a bit at a time and see how your body responds.
For general health, try taking a long walk, doing gardening or swimming. The point is to get yourself moving more each day! If you’re looking to lower your blood pressure, improve your cardiovascular fitness, or lose weight you can build up to a higher intensity of workout.
As time goes on, you’ll see the benefits reflected in your body’s ability to go further until you can meet the recommended 30-60 minutes of exercise per day.
Stretch It Out
Many of us were once taught to spend 10-15 minutes stretching before we exercise. This practice has changed a bit, now experts say to warm your body up with light cardio exercises such as walking or biking for about 5 minutes and then take time to stretch out our muscles by doing dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching is active, instead of sitting down and then pulling or pushing your legs and arms, you’re constantly moving. Some dynamic stretches are:
- Arm Circles – extend your arms to the sides and move them in small circular motions, 5-10 circles forwards then 5-10 backwards
- Leg Swings – Stand next to a chair and hold for support, with back straight raise 1 leg as high as you can, keeping it straight. Continue with a downward swing, bringing the leg as far back as you can. Repeat 5-10 times and then repeat with other leg.
See more dynamic stretches here.
This is the key to staying limber and flexible. If you’re someone who is just starting out you’ll find you may have tight muscles, by taking time to do dynamic stretching you’re waking up your muscles.
Change It Up
Once you’re exercising regularly, you may find you’re becoming bored by the activities you’ve chosen. This is completely normal and you should feel free to change it up a bit. Try something new, by doing different types of exercise, we benefit our bodies in different ways.
Strength training has different benefits than cardio so consider something different. I personally adore interval training because we are performing different exercises throughout the hour, targeting different muscles and frankly it’s not boring. At the same time, I also adore Yoga which has an entirely different feel so go ahead and see what you enjoy and keep trying different exercises.
Know When You Need a Break
Often when we’re starting to focus on exercising and our health, we push ourselves too far and our bodies need a break. Within the first month of my new-found love of exercise, I managed to over-exert myself and have ended up with a knee injury which still haunts me.
Being sore after a workout is normal, it’s actually a good sign but there are times when your body will need time to recover. Recovery is vital for the body to continue making progress and avoid injuries. I’m not telling you to take a week off, just one day should be enough.
Get Ready To Change
As the months have passed and exercising has become a routine part of my life, my inner thoughts and self-image has changed. I went from perceiving exercise as daunting to considering it a vital part of my life. This is a massive change, my self-image changed without me even being aware.
Now not only has my overall health improved but I am happier as well. So as you begin it may feel alien to you and you’ll probably have times when you just want to skip the workout but please, keep at it because it’s so worth it!