GEveryone knows the benefits of exercise. Better sleep, weight loss, increased endorphins, more energy, and many more benefits are possible when you exercise regularly. But how do you go from couch potato to gym rat? All it takes is to get started on a workout plan you like, somehow. Here are a few tips on how to get started with an exercise plan.
Understand Your Needs
Before you slap down money at a gym, buy yourself expensive new workout gear, or sign up for the latest hot new fitness class, take a minute to pause and reflect. Why are you exercising? What do you enjoy when you exercise? How much time do you have? Working out should be a fun experience, not a chore. Picking a class, a gym, or some equipment that you enjoy might help you stick to it. Looking at your needs and time constraints is also essential when designing your exercise plan. If you won’t have time to exercise four times a week, start with two or three sessions a week. Determining why you want to work out, too, is critical. Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle mass? Whatever it is, look for activities that could get you started on those goals. With these answers in mind, you can get started finding and signing up for any subscriptions or classes you might take.
Assess Your Fitness Level
So, you’ve figured out why you want to exercise, how often you want to exercise, and what you enjoy, but have you considered your fitness level? If you’ve worked out in the past, you can start at a more advanced level than if you’re starting to exercise for the first time. There’s no shame at starting from the bottom–everyone started from the bottom at some point. Keep your fitness level in mind when you begin to exercise, though– don’t push yourself too hard so that you burn out after a few days or few weeks.
Create Your Fitness Plan
The Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every day. Mixing and matching your moderate and vigorous exercise is always possible, but loosely adhering to this concept is essential. For example, if you go to the gym twice a week, consider running, swimming, or biking vigorously for around 40 minutes per session. If you hit the gym three times a week, you could cut that number down to 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per session. What’s also important is that you include some strength training in your plan. Experts recommend that you perform some strength-training exercise at least twice a week. If you need some extra motivation to stick to your plan, schedule out time in your calendar or write it down somewhere. Seeing it daily might help you stay more motivated to follow through.
Get Your Materials
Now that you’ve got a plan in mind, get what you might need. Are you looking for a gym membership? Find a local gym and pick up your membership card. Are you running around the neighborhood? Grab a pair of running shoes, some running shorts or leggings, and a sports bra, if necessary. Want an in-home treadmill? Do your research, find a spot for it in your home, and follow through with your purchase. Making a financial investment in your fitness can help motivate you to make the most of the money you’ve spent.
Now that you’ve got a workout plan, the materials you need, and a goal in mind, go for your fitness goals! In the beginning, try to start slower and more infrequently so that you don’t experience burnout. It is also okay to make changes and revise your plan if you find you don’t enjoy something or see that something isn’t working for you.
Have a question? Let us know!