Congratulations! You took the first step towards a healthier and happier life: Start Exercising.
Wether you're starting to exercise because your doctor recommended or for the simple fact of having a healthier life, that was the best decision you could have made.
And because every new routine and beginning can be overwhelming, I'm here to give some tips on how to start off on the right foot, because even more important than getting started is to stick to it .
Here’s how to do it:
Find an activity that you enjoy
Make your "exercise time" a priority
Find a workout buddy
Make sure you have proper shoes and clothes
Make a playlist
1. Find an activity that you enjoy
This is #1 on my list, and I tell all of my clients: if you don't enjoy the exercise, it's very likely you will not stick to it.
When I first started exercising in my teens, I did not like going to the gym and lifting weights, I also didn't enjoy running, mainly because I had some knee problems, but it took me a while to find an activity I liked, and at that time it was Muay Thai. I was training 3 times a week and I would look forward to the sessions.
It's ok to try different sports and classes, I actually highly recommend that, because I am sure you will find something that will make your heart pump and give you that feeling of mission accomplished at the end, and trust me, that is the BEST FEELING EVER!
2. Make you "exercise time" a priority
I get it, we are all very busy these days, but I am sure you will find at least 20-30 minutes of your day to dedicate to yourself!
Block your calendar, start the day earlier, go to the gym on your lunch break or before heading home from work, that are lots of options, just make it happen. Remember: this is for yourself, no one else.
3. Find a workout buddy
If you find yourself giving too many excuses to not exercise, I highly recommend you to find a workout buddy.
A study from the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University, surveyed married couples who joined health clubs together and found that couples who worked out separately had a 43 percent dropout rate over the course of a year. Those who went to the gym together, regardless of whether they focused on the same type of exercise, had only a 6.3 percent dropout rate.
Another important factor: emotional connection. Your workout buddy doesn't have to be your significant other or your best friend, but it should be someone you wouldn't like to disappoint.
4. Make sure you have proper shoes and clothes
It sound silly, but you want to make sure you have proper clothes. I've seen so many people coming into my group fitness classes, specially at corporate sites, wearing dress shoes and jeans. Just think about it: if you have to dress appropriately for work, for church, for a nightclub, for a date, why not dress appropriately to exercise?
If you spend at least 4 hours of your day sitting in front of the computer, you probably feel that your hips and shoulders are tight, and proper shoes and clothes can make a big difference when you're trying to walk on a treadmill or take that group fitness class at the gym where you'll have to perform lots of squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.
5. Make a playlist
I don't know about you, but I am moved by music!
You probably don’t need an exercise scientist to tell you that music makes exercise more enjoyable, but what is its true effect on physical performance?
According to American Council on Exercise, "over the past 20 years of research, Karageorghis has identified three primary things about music that could possibly influence exercise performance: 1) the tendency to move in time with synchronous sounds (e.g., tapping your toe in time with music or the beat of a drum); 2) the tendency of music to increase arousal (e.g., the desire to move rather than to sit); and 3) the tendency for music to distract the exerciser from discomfort that might be related to exercise".
When looking for good workout songs, find those that have a distinct rhythm and appropriate tempo/beats-per-minute (bpm) for your chosen activity. The song’s bpm should correspond to the heart rate you’d hope to have during the workout.
Power walking: approx. 137–139 bpm
Running: approx. 147–169 bpm
Cycling: approx. 135–170 bpm
“All things being equal, I think the stronger and more obvious the beat is, the more likely you will be to follow it,” says Foster.