Wednesday, January 17, 2024

How To Begin Exercising

If you haven't realized it, I have a theme for the month of January. I am looking at ways to be successful with fulfilling New Years Resolutions since the majority of people fail.  Rather than just making a list of resolutions, I am looking at individual items and how best to accomplish it.  Many people make their resolution to exercise, go all out, and by March they've totally given up on it, so today, we'll look at how to begin exercising either for the first time or after being inactive for several months.

Exercise is more than about getting rid of pounds or building muscles; it's an overall approach to health that impacts both the body and mind. Regular physical activity can improve physical health by helping improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones and muscles, improve flexibility, and boost the immune system. It can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

In addition, exercise improves mental health because it is a potent tool for managing stress, anxiety, and depression. It releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, which can significantly improve your overall mental state. Furthermore, exercise can boost energy levels. Regular exercise can enhance endurance and stamina, making everyday tasks feel less draining. Finally, a consistent exercise routine can contribute to better sleep patterns, allowing for more restful and restorative sleep.

When you begin exercising, it is strongly recommended that you check with your doctor to make sure you are fit enough to participate. Once that is out of the way, you should set realistic goals. Begin with numbers that you can achieve such as 10 minutes of cardio three times a week. Aim for consistency rather than intensity by setting small attainable goals and gradually increasing them as you progress.

Choose activities you like otherwise you won't want to do it. Exercise doesn't have to be monotonous or dull. Take time to explore various activities like walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, or joining group fitness classes until you find something you genuinely enjoy. If you are near a gym, rec center, or university check them for some of these activities. The local university near my house offers climbing up a huge outdoor wall.

If you are brand new to exercising, start with low-impact activities and gradually increase the intensity as your fitness improves. If your routine uses weights, begin with lightest weight until you are ready to move up. This approach helps prevent injury and reduces the likelihood of burnout. Furthermore, set aside specific times for exercise in your weekly schedule, treating it as an essential appointment with yourself. Remember, consistency is the key.

It is important to pay attention to how your body responds to exercise. Rest when needed, and don’t push yourself excessively, especially in the beginning stages. It is easy to want to push yourself but you don't want to injure yourself. It is often easier to exercise with a friend, joining a fitness community, or hiring a personal trainer to stay motivated and accountable. 

Challenges are inevitable when starting an exercise routine, but with determination and perseverance, they can be overcome. Unfortunately, motivation can fluctuate. Remind yourself of the benefits and the positive changes exercise brings. Look for inspiration from success stories or motivational quotes. Call a friend to see if they will workout with you.

Some days, it seems as if the block of time you have set aside to exercise is disappearing. Remember that even a short workout session yields benefits. Incorporate small bursts of activity called exercise snacks throughout the day if time is limited. It is possible, you might experience soreness when you start exercising. Initial soreness or discomfort is normal when starting a new routine. Ensure proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretching to minimize discomfort and prevent injuries.

Remember to celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. Recognize and celebrate the progress you make along the way, whether it's completing your first mile, increasing your flexibility, or simply sticking to your exercise schedule.

Starting to exercise is beginning a transformative journey towards a healthier and happier life. It's a personal commitment that requires dedication, patience, and perseverance. Embrace the process, stay consistent, and celebrate the small victories along the way. With time and dedication, the positive impacts of exercise will manifest, enhancing not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being. So, lace up those sneakers, find an activity you love, and embark on this empowering journey towards a healthier you.

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