The first step to any exercise program is the decision to start! Making a commitment to yourself to become more active will require a lifestyle change, but it’s one of the best commitments you can make for your health. Once you’ve made that decision, where do you begin? Sometimes that thought can overwhelm us, causing us to give up before we’ve even started. There are so many things to choose from!
Here are some tips to beginning an exercise program that is right for you:
1. Visit a local gym, and take the tour. (Let them know up front that you are not there to join today, only to see what they have to offer.) By taking the tour, you will learn about the different equipment/classes offered in a gym. Feel free to ask them questions about machines, weights and equipment. Some gyms offer a trial period that allows you to workout for free to see if the gym is a fit for you. Some people work better in a gym atmosphere. Others work better at home. This will help you determine which is better for you.
2. You might also consider a few sessions with a personal trainer. A trainer can help set fitness goals, and give you advice on how to reach them. A trainer will also advise you on how to properly perform exercises, avoiding injury. Trainers help you track your progress and results, and encourage and support you along the way! Some people work better with accountability, and some work better on their own. This can help you determine which way is better for you.
3. Try some group fitness classes. There are many varieties of classes like kickboxing, yoga, spinning, power lift, and dance. Trying different classes will give you an idea of which types of exercise you like best, and allow you to meet others that are interested in the same things.
4. Look for things that you enjoy. Exercise is not “one size fits all”. You have to find things that you love to do! Being active should be fun. Go for a walk, a swim or a hike. Play a sport that you loved as a kid. The key is try things that you think you would like.
5. Rent exercise DVDs. (Rent before you buy, to make sure you like them!) That way, you can try different types of exercises at home.
6. Having a group around you that is working toward the same goals is important. Find like-minded friends and exercise together! Encouragement and support go a long way, and exercise is just more fun with friends!
Ideally, you will create a program that mixes strength training and cardio exercise, fits into your life, and that you enjoy! If you need help designing a program, I’d love to talk with you.