If you are looking to begin a new exercise regime, you’re probably thinking: “Where do I start?” Not only is this one of the most common questions but it can also be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome too. This is especially the case if you’re completely new to exercise in general. In fact, for someone who has never participated in structured exercise before, it can be extremely daunting. Unless they overcome their fears it can be a deal-breaker altogether.
Given regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health, it’s well worth investing your time and energy into - regardless of what level of fitness you are currently at. Having said that, when you’re just starting out making exercise a part of your regular routine takes determination and some form of discipline.
That’s why the key is to keep it simple. One of the most common mistakes people make is overcomplicating exercise. This is seen not only by clients but by health professionals as well. Some health professionals will try and overcomplicate exercise so clients feel as though they cannot do it on their own, and feel as though they need to continue seeing the health professional to be able to continue.
We don’t want clients to become reliant on someone else when exercising as that is not beneficial for the long term. Exercise doesn’t have to be completed or complex and everyone should feel as though they can create a good exercise routine on their own if that is their goal.
Don’t think about getting up and throwing around heavy weights, or high-intensity interval training or that new barre class everyone is talking about. For people who don’t exercise regularly, finding an activity that you enjoy and will continue to do is the first and most important step in starting an exercise routine.
There is no ‘best’ type of exercise, find something you can do and tolerate and do it! If getting up and taking the dog for a walk is enjoyable for you and is something you can see yourself continuing to do, then start with that. Walking is a type of exercise that can be progressed either by increasing duration, frequency or intensity.
Another way to start exercising is to come up with 3 simple exercises, for example, squats, push-ups and lunges. Complete a small circuit 3-4 times repeating each exercise 8-10 times. This is a really simple structure that is very easy to follow. You can even do it in the comfort of your own home!
Once you have decided to start exercising, creating a plan that includes realistic goals and steps can help your likelihood to stick to it. Start with small attainable goals with some sort of time frame that will increase your chance of success but also keep your motivation high. For example, if you’re wanting to be able to run 5km, start off with shorter distances and gradually build this up.
Exercise doesn’t have to be as daunting or complicated as some make it out to be. Find a type activity that you enjoy whether it be walking, swimming, bike riding, bootcamp classes, zumba or boxing. Getting some guidance from a health professional is also a great place to start. But remember, there’s a difference between having someone help and guide you and becoming reliant on that person.