5 Steps to Beginning (and Keeping) an Exercise Routine

It’s hard to change your habits.  And when it comes to beginning an exercise routine, it’s incredibly difficult.

Not only do you have to muster up the motivation to workout, but you have to figure out what workout is best for you out of the millions of different classes, pieces of equipment, styles and gyms.

Starting an exercise routine should be fun and easy to follow.  Otherwise, that first workout may never happen.  Here are some great tips to make an exercise routine that you will not only enjoy, but keep up with!

Know Your Fitness Level

Before beginning an exercise program, make sure you speak to your doctor for medical clearance.  It is also a good idea to have a fitness assessment to determine your strength and cardiorespiratory abilities.  Many gyms offer these services for free, so take advantage of those.

Set Fitness Goals

Decide what your overall goal is, whether it is to lose 20 pounds, or get “six-pack” abs.  Then, break the goal down into smaller, more attainable weekly and monthly goals.  You may have a goal of losing 1 pound a week or doing 10 minutes of abdominal exercises 3 times a week.  This will help you stay focused and on track and also keep you motivated.

Create a Routine

Depending on your goal, decide on your routine.  If your goal is to run a 5k race, then most of your time should be spent running.  If your goal is to gain strength in your upper body, then you should be incorporating resistance moves such as shoulder presses, push-ups and bicep curls into your weekly routine.

It is a good idea for a beginner to start out doing cardiovascular activities 3 times a week at a moderate intensity.  Depending on your health and fitness level, the time frame can be anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes a session.  Strength training should be incorporated twice a week, no matter your goal.  Many people with weight loss goals focus on cardio and rarely if ever do strength training.  This is a big mistake.  Not only does strength training give you added muscle strength and tone, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn while exercising and at rest.

schedule

It is best to write down your routine and set a time in your schedule to exercise.  That way you never have to figure out what to do on the spot, and you always have your time protected in your schedule for exercise.

Gather your Equipment

fitness equipment

Make sure you have the workout clothes and equipment you will need ahead of time.  If you are exercising outdoors, make sure you have the appropriate clothing for the season.  Good, supportive shoes are a must no matter where you are exercising.  If you are choosing to exercise at home, you may need to invest in some dumbbells or exercise bands for your strength training.

Learn to Enjoy Exercise

happy exerciser

There are many ways to have fun while exercising. It may be just finding the right exercise for you.  Try different activities, such as aerobics classes, team sports or hiking.  Find a friend to workout with so you can motivate each other.  Sometimes finding the right music to workout to can make all the difference.  If you are bored with your routine, find a way to change it up.  But whatever you do, don’t give up!

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