5 Tips for Starting a New Fitness Program
Along with New Year’s celebrations often come New Year’s resolutions. One of the more common resolutions is to exercise more.
After the holiday snacks, starting from picking at our kids’ Halloween baskets, through the Thanksgiving turkey and buttery mashed potatoes to the great-tasting holiday sweets, you might see some excess pounds you want to lose.
If the gym is not a familiar place for you, startfing an exercise program may be a little intimidating. Our experts offer 5 tips to help you keep your resolution to work out more:
- Know Your Goals
- Discuss Your Goals with Your Doctor
- Get the Right Guidance
- Use the Right Equipment
- Plan for the Long Term
1. Know Your Goals
- Are you hitting the gym to lose weight?
- Are you trying to lose a couple pounds of excess weight, or are you starting a weight loss journey to head out of obesity?
- Are you trying to build muscle?
- Are trying to bulk up or are you training for that first marathon?
- Are you trying to treat an injured area?
- Are you rehabilitating a sprained ankle or are you recovering from a heart attack?
Make sure your goals are realistic. Losing 15 pounds by next month is not only unrealistic, it also may be harmful to your health.
2. Discuss Your Goals with Your Doctor
It is important to know if there are any medical limitations to your exercise program. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid certain exercises if you are pregnant, have a heart or lung condition, or other medical illnesses. You may need braces/supports or other assistive devices to make sure you do your exercises safely.
After starting an exercise program, it is important to listen to your body. Although it is normal to feel the “workout burn” and the muscle soreness afterwards, you should contact your doctor for shortness of breath, chest pains, joint pains, nausea, or any other new symptoms after starting your exercise program.
3. Get the Right Guidance
If you have any limitations to physical activity, you need to know what exercises you can do to still reach your goals. A certified personal trainer or physical therapist can tailor an exercise program to meet your specific needs. Improper techniques during exercise can put you at risk of injury, such as tendonitis, joint sprains, or muscle tears.
4. Use the Right Equipment
The staff at your gym can help you find the right equipment for the right exercise and make sure that you are using equipment correctly.
While gym equipment is helpful, you can also use what you have at home. Soup-can hand weights, back porch stair master and rug mat exercises are just some of the materials you can incorporate into your fitness program.
5. Plan for the Long Term
Start slowly and increase your activity as you go. Starting a vigorous exercise program without working your way up can increase your chance of injury and the likelihood that you get burned out too quickly and give up on working out altogether.
Although your goals may be short term ones, try to commit to a long-term change. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can have many health benefits, including a stronger heart and lungs, healthier skin and hair, improved vitality, decreased depression and anxiety.
Also, be sure to keep things fun. Change up the exercises if you get bored with your routine. Find a workout buddy to encourage you to exercise when you don’t feel up to it.
The best way to guarantee you’ll be following your resolution past February is to incorporate your exercises into your daily routine.
Talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise program or to learn about which types of weight-loss or fitness goals might be best for you.