The benefits of regular exercise have been well-documented over time. Regular movement, lasting around 30 minutes most days of the week, has been shown to help many health conditions including obesity, heart disease and depression. For many, though, 30 minutes each day can seem overwhelming – overwhelming enough to not even try. Small changes to increase your activity level can really help and even a few additional minutes of activity can be helpful.
The most important thing is that you get moving!
But how does a newbie get started with an exercise routine? Join a gym? Sign up with a personal trainer? Buy some new running shoes?
The answer is that it depends – and may look different for each person. Now let’s figure out how to get moving!
Think about what you enjoy doing. Do you enjoy dancing, walking, roller skating? Dancing can torch lots of calories and is a great workout! You may even forget that this is actually exercise when you get caught up in the music. Many gyms offer Zumba classes or there are videos online if you’d prefer to dance at home. Walking is great too since it only requires a good pair of walking shoes. It’s a great opportunity to grab a friend, enjoy some good conversation and get some steps in. Even a quick walk during your lunch break will boost your energy for the afternoon. If you like roller skating, get a pair of inline skates and zip up and down your neighborhood for a few minutes in the evening.
Don’t do too much too soon. If you are currently sedentary, don’t attempt to do too much too soon. Of course you should get clearance from your health professional before starting any type of program. Set realistic expectations for yourself and understand that your journey will look different from the next person. Everyone has to start somewhere though! You don’t need to be super sore from a workout to know that it is effective.
Try a structured program. I am a huge fan of structured programs that tell you exactly which workout to do on which day. This makes it easy for me and eliminates any planning. Beachbody on Demand is my favorite way to get structured programs for my level and interest. It’s a super affordable way (under $3 a week) to have access to some of the most popular Beachbody workouts. You may not be ready to tackle Insanity now, but the 10 Minute Trainer program is perfect for beginners.
Find free resources online. There are countless free resources online to motivate and inspire you to get moving. I offer a free 30 day challenge with short workouts and simple nutrition tips delivered to your email each day. You can sign up for that here. There are lots of different challenges and groups on social media as well. Look around and find one that interests you! These free resources can help you establish a regular exercise routine with daily activities for you to follow.
Commit to a goal and schedule workout time. Establish a goal for yourself that is reasonable. You can even start with something simple like 10 minutes a day every weekday. Pencil in the time on your calendar instead of doing it if you find the time. Make this a non-negotiable time. Even if you have a packed schedule, you can squeeze in 10 minutes a day. You may need to get creative and pace while you’re on the phone or walk during your child’s dance lessons, but it can be done. If you have time to watch television and browse social media and the internet, you have time for a few minutes of movement. As you make a few minutes each day a habit, increase by a few minutes each week to reach the 30 minute recommendation.
Try a new device. I’m sure you’ve heard of Fitbit or other workout devices. These can be fun ways to monitor your activity and challenge yourself to do more. There is lots of great technology that may appeal to your more geeky side and help you establish a regular exercise routine!
What is your biggest challenge with exercising? If you already have an exercise routine, what advice do you have for someone just getting started?