You've been thinking about it for a long time. Getting started with some sort of exercise program. Awesome decision, that is one of the most beneficial things that you can do to improve your overall health!
Unfortunately there's a lot of advice floating around out there, some of it good, some of it useless. My strong recommendation is to keep it simple and take it easy when first getting started. Physical changes will not happen overnight, it will require dedication and commitment over a long period of time. Also, as the body adapts to the increased levels of activity, you will need to increase the demands placed on it to continue to progress. If you start off all guns a blazing (which will leave you very sore and probably injured at some point) you will not leave any cards up your sleeve. The goal is to always be able to up the ante down the road and keep the positive physiological changes happening.
Before starting any exercise routine it is a good idea to consult with your doctor. This is especially important for people who are not used to physical activity or those aged 45 and over. A checkup can help to detect any health issues or conditions that can put you at risk.
Here are some things to think about when starting out.
Figure out what your goals are. Try to create a plan that has both short term and long term goals. This will allow you to taste some success along the way which will keep you motivated towards your long term goals.
This gives you a baseline benchmark against which to measure your future progress. Some examples include, resting heart rate, bodyfat percentage, waist circumference, max reps with a particular weight or one rep max tests, endurance tests, etc.
Be sure to include a warm up and a cool down. Start slow and build up gradually. Ensure that you are using proper form or consult with a personal trainer if you need help. Stay hydrated and optimize your nutrition. Have fun and stick with it.
Working out breaks down your muscles as well as creates overall systemic fatigue. It is when you are not working out that your body is rebuilding and super-compensating. Many beginners adhere to the "more is better" camp and try to do too much, not including enough recovery. Avoid this mistake by including appropriate rest days. You can also increase your ability to recover by including mobility work, massage, walking, sound nutrition protocols and supplementation.
Retake your measurements/physical assessments every month and tweak your program accordingly. You may find that you need to crank things up a bit or that you are hitting the sweet spot and progressing well.
Starting a fitness program can seem like a daunting task. However, the positive physical and mental benefits far outweigh the challenges you will face. There are lots of different types of physical activity, find a few that you like and start there. Try to vary the types of activity from time to time and remain consistent. Starting a fitness program is one of the most important decisions that you can ever make!
Stay healthy my friends.
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