5 Step Beginner Fitness Program
Thinking of starting a fitness program? Good for you ! You are just five steps away from a healthier lifestyle.
Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can lower your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight, and even improve your sleep patterns and self-esteem. And there is more good news. You can start a fitness program in just five steps.
You probably have an idea of your physical shape. But assessing and recording your baseline fitness results can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular capacity, your flexibility and your body composition, remember to note the following results:
What is your pulse before and immediately after walking 1.6 km?
How long does it take to walk 1.6 km, or how long does it take to run 2.40 km?
How many standard or modified push-ups can you do in a row?
How far can you lean forward when sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you?
Your waist, just above the hips?
Your body mass index (BMI)?
It’s easy to say that you will exercise every day. But you will need a plan. When designing your fitness program, keep these points in mind:
– Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help you lose weight? Or do you have another motivation, for example preparing for a marathon? Having clear goals can help you measure your progress and stay motivated.
– Create a balanced routine. For most healthy adults, it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest spreading this exercise out over a week. More exercise will provide even greater health benefits.
But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods throughout the day can be beneficial to your health.
– Do resistance exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice a week. Aim to do only one set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance machines heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 reps.
– Start low and progress slowly: If you are just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or medical condition, consult your doctor or therapist to help design a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength, and endurance.
– Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine: Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier for you, schedule time for exercise just like you would on any other date.
– Plan to include different activities: Different activities (cross-training) can help avoid exercise boredom. Cross-training using low-impact forms of activity, such as bicycling or water exercises, also reduces the risk of injury or overuse of a specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate between activities that focus on different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming, and strength training.
– Try regular interval high-intensity training: In high-intensity training, you do short periods of high-intensity activity separated by recovery periods of low-intensity activity.
– Allow time for recovery: Many people start training with frantic zeal, training too long or too intensely, and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Allow time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
– Put it on paper: A written plan can encourage you to stay on track.
You will probably start with sports shoes. Be sure to choose shoes designed for the activity you are planning. For example, running shoes are lighter than cross-training shoes, which provide more support.
If you plan to invest in workout gear, choose something that’s practical, enjoyable, and easy to use. You may want to try out certain types of equipment at a fitness center before investing in your own equipment.
You might consider using fitness apps for tablets and console phones or other activity tracking devices, such as ones that can track your distance, track calories burned, or monitor your heart rate.
Now you are ready to act. As you begin your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:
Start slow and gradually increase.
Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down by walking or gently stretching. Then, speed up to a pace you can continue for five to ten minutes without getting too tired. As your endurance improves, gradually increase the duration of the exercise.
Exercise for up to 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week.
Interrupt the exercises if necessary. You don’t have to do all of your exercises at once, so you can squeeze in activity throughout the day. Shorter but more frequent sessions also have beneficial effects on aerobics. Exercising in short sessions a few times a day can fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session. Any activity is better than no activity at all.
Be creative. Your training program may include various activities, such as walking, cycling or rowing. But don’t stop there. Take a weekend hike with your family or spend an evening dancing in a ballroom. Find activities that you enjoy and add to your fitness routine.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be overdoing it.
Be flexible. If you’re not feeling well, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.
Repeat your Personal Fitness Assessment six weeks after you start your program, and every few months thereafter. You may notice that you need to increase the duration of your exercises in order to continue improving. Or you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re doing just the right thing to achieve your fitness goals.
If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend or taking a class at a fitness center can also help.
Starting an exercise program is a big decision. But it need not be too radical. By planning carefully and pacing ahead, you can form a healthy habit that will last a lifetime.