Beginning an exercise program, or if you're like me, returning to exercise.
Depending on where you are, summer is in full swing or maybe you're one of the lucky ones still having "summer-ish" weather. Whatever the case, the weather is nice and you want to look nice in your shorts and feel good, right? If winter and spring came and went and you didn't have time to prepare your summer body or perhaps you've given birth or had a recent surgery, don't fret my friend. Here are some helpful tips to get you started (or re-started).
Before starting any new exercise routine, make sure you've gotten clearance from your healthcare provider. Sure you may feel great, but your body may not be ready or the activity you're thinking to get into, may not be right for you. In this day and age of social media, we have the ability to watch our friends and fitness gurus post their latest workout videos. Trying something without being properly educated about it can be harmful. I saw it happen last month when a Pilates acquaintance of mine posted a beautiful video of herself doing a movement. Unfortunately, one of her followers (with an underlying hip labral pathology) saw the exercise, attempted it, ended up injuring herself, and posted about it...double ouch!
What are your goals for working out? Weight loss? Weight gain? Weight control? Improved overall health? Increased strength? Before starting an exercise program, it's best to know what your overall goals are and pick exercises and activities that are right for those goals. Be honest with yourself and if needed, get some advice. If you're going to spend time working on something, make sure you're actually working towards the right target.
I LIKE IT LIKE THAT
Now that you have a few goals in place, choose an activity or activities that you already enjoy. If you're going to commit the time, hard work, and effort into something, you might as well have some fun, right? When motivating my health coaching clients to embark on a new program, I have them write out some activities they enjoy and we find or create a program that encompasses those things while keeping their goals in mind. For instance, if you enjoy listening to music and being outdoors, why not exercise to music while outside-working out doesn't mean you have to join a gym.
DESPACITO (sorry, couldn't resist)
Found a program that you like? Great! Returning to a program that you already enjoy? Awesome! Now take it easy and go slow. Start the activity with a short amount of time and low intensity. From there, you can increase the time and intensity by listening to your body. The "No Pain, No Gain" mentality is not what we're going for here. Going too quick too hard too soon, will just cause you to be tired and in pain or even worse-injured! Also, be patient with your workout. Going too hard for a quick fix will only end up with you quitting before having real results. Also, think about the lasting health benefits of exercise vs just wanting to look good.
Grab some friends and hold each other accountable. Working out is always easier when you have someone you like with similar goals cheering you on. Can't coordinate time to workout with your friends? Try an app that let's you log in your workouts and share with your friends. That way you guys can still hold each other accountable and cheer each other on, plus you'll have a record of your progress as you increase your physical activity--what can be more motivating than that?
Celebrate your milestones! Be sure you give yourself credit for achieving each goal along the way. Post your achievements on social media (I mean who doesn't like a good "before and after" pic). Share your success with your family and friends--you might just be an inspiration to someone else :)
Need some advice on starting an exercise program? Click here for a free discovery visit with a health coach. Have workout goals that you're working on? Share them in the comments!