How To Start Exercising?
Exercising should be one of the top things on your list of things you need to do to stay healthy. Working out comes with so many benefits that people choose to do it without even being told by a doctor. If you wake up early enough, and go to a park area, you will definitely see people getting a few steps in. There are so many different exercises one can do. Where a problem often arises is when people are new to workouts, as they often have the tendency to rush into their new exercises and this is what may cause injuries. Hence, it is important to pose the question: Why is it important to ease into an exercise program?
Easing into an exercise program is very important. Your body is not a machine and there is no way you can wake up one day and say you will run the 42 kilometer marathon without having done prior preparations and successfully do it without injury. You need to take care of your body even when working out.
Easing Yourself Into A Workout Program
There are so many reasons as to why it is important to ease yourself into an exercise program. A good reason could be you are recovering from an injury. Another reason could be you are new to exercising. Another reason could be you are coming back to exercising after taking a break from working out. These are all good reasons to take things slow when it comes to exercising.
There really is no need to rush into a workout plan. This is how most injuries are caused. When you try to do too much too fast, you can end up overusing your muscles. This results in injuries because your body hadn’t gotten used to such an intensity of movements. Believe me, the last thing you want to get is an injury. Apart from injuries being painful, they make it hard for you to carry out your daily activities and could result in you staying away from the gym for sometime. This affects all the progress you had made in regards to your weight, building muscles and keeping fit. This means you might have to start over once you are back to feeling well.
Easing Yourself Into A Workout Program: How To Do It Right?
When we talk about easing yourself into an exercise, we are not just talking about taking things slow. There are so many things associated with easing yourself into an exercise. Easing yourself into an exercise program means you need to be careful on the type of exercises you choose (5). Choosing very hard exercises and doing them slowly is not a way of easing yourself into a workout routine. You also need to be cautious on how long you do the exercises you’ve chosen (5). Do the exercises for too long and you might risk getting an injury. Another way of easing yourself into an exercise routine is by knowing the correct way to perform your exercises. Using the wrong form or position for an exercise might result in an injury.
Easing yourself into a workout session does not simply mean to take things very slowly. There’s no reason for you to still be doing 10 minutes of cardio after being 6 months into your workout plan. The best plan for you is to make small progressive improvements. You can start by adding the time required for doing certain exercises, you can make an exercise a little bit harder as time goes by or you can look for different variations of the exercise. You can also start incorporating hard exercises into your routine as you get used to working out.
The rate at which you ease yourself into a workout program should not be so intense that you injure yourself, neither should it be so slow that there is no progress. The key is to find a balance between these two extremes.
Ways To Ease Yourself Into An Exercise Program
Now, since you know it is important to ease yourself into a workout, here are several things you can do to ease yourself into a workout:
Consult an expert
Before you start out any workout program, it is important to consult a doctor or any other expert in that field (11). This helps determine if the exercise routine is okay for you. It is important to do so if you are recovering from an injury, as the expert will advise on whether it is too early to go back to working out or not. It is also important to do so when you are new to working out. The expert will give you some pointers on the best way to exercise without injuring yourself and get the most out of the exercise. If you have any health conditions, you should also make sure to consult an expert. They will give you the best advice on how to workout with the health condition you have.
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Why are you working out
Before you can get any further, you need to know the reason as to why you are working out. Is it to lose weight? Is it to keep fit? Is it to gain muscles and strength? Knowing the reason you are working out helps to keep you motivated, especially during the first few days when it is so easy to quit (10). When you want to give up, you just need to remember why you are doing it and you will get motivated again.
Another reason as to why you should know why you are working out is because this helps you to know which exercises to add to your exercise plan. The exercises needed to build muscles are not the same exercises needed to lose weight, even though some exercises might overlap. Any exercise routine should be well-rounded and include cardio, strength training, and stretching, but your personal goals may determine which types of exercise you do more often. If you want to lose weight, more cardio is the way to go. If you want to gain strength, more strength training exercises is the way to go.
Train with a personal trainer
This is quite costly. If you can afford a personal trainer, then you should definitely hire one for yourself. Working out with a personal trainer is quite helpful. Trainers know the best exercises for beginners, they also know the best exercises to perform if you are recovering from an injury and so on. Working out with a trainer means you have someone to guide you along the safest path when it comes to working out. If hiring a trainer all the time is too expensive, you can hire one for a few sessions. You can hire one until you know what you are doing. Once you are comfortable doing the exercises alone, you can now start exercising on your own.
Assess how fit you are
When you are new to working out, you need to know how fit you are (6). Everyone has a rough idea about how fit they are. Knowing how fit you are helps you design a workout program that you can handle. Knowing how fit you are also means measuring and recording your baseline fitness scores. This includes things like measuring your aerobic fitness, your flexibility, your body composition and so on. These initial measurements help you to track progress and know if your workout plan is really working. It is recommended for one to go to an expert to get their baselines measured for more accurate measurements.
Create a workout plan that works for you
You can do this by yourself or with the help of an expert. When it comes to creating a workout plan, you need to create a workout plan that is sustainable yet effective. This is to say your exercise program should be designed so it can be maintained for a long period of time and should also be able to help you attain your weight goals. There are a number of things you can look at when creating your workout plan. One thing to look at is your fitness goals (6).
Once you know your fitness goals, you can search for the best exercises to add to your plan to help you attain those goals. You should also consider your routine (6). This helps set your workout time. A person can choose to either workout in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening. In selecting the proper time, one should take into account your other regular activities. In this way you will be more consistent week on week with gradual and safe improvements in your exercises
. Yet another thing you should be cautious about when making your workout plan is to ensure you have a balance within your exercise program (5). This means you need to include all the different types of exercises. Make sure your exercise routine has the correct time and target in cardio, strength training, calisthenics and so on.
Drink a lot of water
For those new to an exercise routine, your body is not used to being active. Working out means you are going to sweat and lose a lot of water. You need to make sure you drink at least 3 liters of water every day (7). If you can drink more, even better. Try to drink an additional liter of water for every hour you spend exercising. Water helps replenish the fluid you lose as sweat and helps keep you from pain and troubles related to dehydration.
Warming up and cooling down
Warming up and cooling down are effective ways to prevent injuries (5). You warm up before exercising and you cool down after exercising. Warming up helps prevent injuries by loosening your joints and by also improving the flow of blood from your muscles. This usually reduces the chances of the muscles tearing or twisting in a dangerous way while you workout. In a simple way this shows how warming up before an exercise is important. There are so many things you can do to warm up. You can walk several minutes, you can stretch your major parts to warm up and so on and so on.
Cooling down helps return your heart rate to its normal rate. It also helps prevent soreness and injuries that may come from the exercises you are from doing. You can cool down by stretching slowly, jogging lightly, walking etc.
Do what your body tells you
You are working out your body, so it is important to listen to it. Your body will tell you if the workout is going well by either gradually becoming more toned if you are doing strength exercises or by slimming down if you are working out to lose weight. The same keen way you use to listen to your body when things are going as you want them to, is the same way you should be keen to listen to it when it is complaining about a workout (8). Are you feeling pain? Do you feel discomfort? Are you tired? This is your body’s way of telling you the exercise is not right or it is too intense and you should immediately stop.
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Stick to the basics
Whether you are new to working out or you are just recovering from an injury, you should keep it simple (1). The problem with some people is that they try to run before they can crawl, and that is not how it should be. There is no shame in starting small. Start small. Start with exercises you can handle. Do not go for complex variations of different exercises, but go for the simple basic exercises. First work on your fitness and on getting used to working out. When you are fit and used to working out, you can progress to more challenging exercises.
Increase the intensity of your workout once you feel like you are ready to
It is important to know the different intensities of working out and their various characteristics. There are four different intensities. They are (3):
- Light intensity – Experienced when you put a light (little) effort into a workout. You can breathe easily while working out lightly. You are able to sing while working out at this intensity.
- Light to moderate intensity – Experienced when you put some effort into a workout. Here your breathing becomes more evident. You are able to talk in full sentences, while working out at this intensity.
- Moderate intensity – Experienced when you put moderate effort into your workout. Here your breathing becomes harder. You are able to talk in full sentences but you need to take more breaths per minute.
- Moderate to vigorous intensity – Experienced when you are putting hard effort into your workout. Here you are slightly breathless. You are able to talk in phrases while working out at this intensity.
You should start with light intensity workouts as you move your way slowly to the vigorous intensity workouts (2). When it comes to increasing the intensity of your workouts, make sure you increase progressively.
Buy some working out equipment
This does not mean you go out and buy all the equipment you usually see in the gym. Buy simple work-out equipment, the kind that can help make your workout sessions easier but effective (10). For example, you could buy a resistance band, a pair of dumbbells and so on.
Those are some of the ways in which you can ease yourself into a workout session.
Benefits Of Exercises
People usually ease themselves into an exercise program so that they can enjoy the benefits of working out. What are some of the benefits of working out ?
- Exercises tend to make people happier. This is because working out makes the body release feel good hormones that make you feel good and happy (9).
- Exercises help people lose weight (9). People know the key to losing weight is adopting a weight-loss diet and exercising.
- Exercising helps build muscles (9). Strength training exercises help tone your muscles and build your strength.
- Exercising prevents certain diseases (4). Exercising and keeping active are practices known to prevent cardiovascular conditions. Weight-bearing exercise helps maintain bone density as we age. Exercise also helps prevent diseases associated with obesity by helping you lose weight.
- Exercising helps improve your brain function and helps keep you alert (4).
- Exercising helps promote better sleep (4). Exercising can help you sleep better and for longer. Exercising makes you tired, and this makes it easier for you to fall asleep.
Those are some of the benefits of exercising.
The Bottom Line
Why is it important to ease into an exercise program? It is important to ease into an exercise program because it helps prevent injuries. Easing into a workout plan also makes the workout program sustainable. This is due to the fact that you get to grow with your exercise program. Since it is tailored to meet your needs, it becomes very easy to sustain it.
When you are easing into an exercise program, it is important for you to remember not to rush the process or go too slow. The idea is to get a balance between the two extremes so that you do not injure yourself and at the same time experience the benefits of your workout. Before you join any new workout program, it is always important to consult an expert.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Ways to Ease Into a Fitness Routine if You’re Not Active (2016, everydayhealth.com)
- Ease Into Your Exercise Routine This Spring (n.d., beaumont.org)
- Easing into exercise (n.d., health.harvard.edu)
- Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Exercise: easing into it (2015, mydr.com.au)
- Fitness program: 5 steps to get started (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- HOW TO EASE YOURSELF BACK INTO EXERCISING AT THE GYM, ACCORDING TO EXPERTS (n.d., independent.co.uk)
- How to Start Exercising and Stick to It (2020, helpguide.org)
- How to Start Working Out (n.d., nytimes.com)
- How to Start Working Out If You’ve Never Exercised Before (2020, self.com)
- SAFELY EASING BACK INTO FITNESS (n.d., lifetothefullest.abbott)