As a beginner, exercising may be a daunting idea. However, the benefits on both your physical and mental health make it worth taking the plunge. The good news is that anyone can get started with some guidance and advice.
Starting an exercise routine is a great first step towards a healthier body and mind. There are many benefits such as maintaining a healthy bodyweight, maintaining muscle, lifting your mood, boosting mental health, reducing the risk of chronic disease, and increasing energy levels to name a few.
However, knowing where to start can be difficult if you are a beginner or returning to exercise after some time out. You can overcome your apprehensions by carefully planning your exercise routine and pacing yourself. Before you know it, you will have established a healthy routine and begin to see and feel the benefits on both your body and well-being. Follow our 5 simple steps to start exercising to get started!
What types of exercise are best to begin with?
Starting an exercise routine can be difficult on various levels, and many of us have personal barriers such as feeling too intimidated to dive into exercise or not knowing where to start. However, the essential point to getting started is simply to get moving and gradually add more exercises onto your routine as you build your confidence.
Exercising from the comfort of your own home is a great way to get started as it will give you the time and privacy to establish a fitness routine that suits you without the fear of being watched or judged. You can challenge yourself without comparing your performance to anyone else’s, and improve your results over time without any unnecessary pressure.
If you are more of an outdoorsy person, running is a fantastic form of exercise to burn calories and not only is it free, you can do it anywhere. Making it a regular occurrence will give you plenty of benefits such as boosting your mood, keeping your weight under control, and reducing your risk of long-term illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes. Make sure you start running in a safe, enjoyable and effective way and keep improving your fitness by maintaining this great habit.
A great way to track your running and aerobics fitness is to use heart rate training. Your heart rate (or pulse) is measured in beats per minutes (BPM) and increases with the amount of effort you put into cardiovascular exercise such as running, spinning or any other vigorous high intensity exercise. This phenomenon occurs to make sure the blood circulates fast enough to provide the muscles with a sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients to keep going.
Keeping an eye on your heart rate while working out it a great way to measure how hard you are working and ensure you make the most of your workout. In fact, you can establish different heart rate zones which you can aim to reach and/or maintain depending on your goals.
At the gym
Gyms are designed to provide all the equipment needed to help people reach their fitness goals. Whether you are looking build strength or improve your endurance, there will be tools to help you with your goal. Anyone can go to the gym and choose to attend classes, get some personal training and/or exercise on the gym floor.
Going to the gym for the first time can be intimidating, and the fear of judgement is a barrier most people have no matter what their physical condition is. However, everyone needs to start somewhere and you will be applauded for trying to better yourself. Learn to turn your negative thoughts and worries into a positive gym mentality and follow our complete beginners’ guide to learn more about the gym and what type of amenities may suit you more.
Weight training is an incredibly beneficial type of exercise that is best practiced at the gym. It is particularly helpful when it comes to developing strength and muscle as you will only lose fat rather than lose both fat and muscle – which occurs when your routine solely revolves around aerobics.
The amount of calories burnt through weight training also tends to be greater as this type of exercise instigates a phenomenon called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) – more commonly called the afterburn effect. This means your metabolism will stay elevated after you have stopped exercising to help the muscles to repair their fibres. Before you begin and start enjoying these great benefits, there are a few things you need to know to optimise your weight training plan, which are highlighted in our beginner’s guide to weight training.
Keeping your fitness commitment
There is a reason New Year’s resolutions never seem to last, and it’s not because you do not have what it takes. There is a right way to build long-lasting habits and avoid losing interest, so it’s time to change the way we pursue our training goals. No amount of willpower will keep you in the gym if you do not learn to make your new habit easier to pursue, as well as being fun and rewarding. Use our 6 steps to successfully stick to exercisingto keep you motivated and committed!
As you get older
A regular exercise routine is essential to living a healthy life, which becomes increasingly important as we age and become more vulnerable. We need to adapt our workouts as our abilities change over time, which is why more forgivable lower-intensity exercise such as golf, yoga and walking are highly favourable to the elderly. This is to reduce the risk of injury and help alleviate the stress that exercise can put on our joints.
Swimming and water aerobics offer more of the benefits gained from high-impact level exercises while remaining safe, which allows older adults to get better results and keep fit effectively. Exercising in the water is extremely beneficial for the elderly and is worth considering as a go-to fitness choice as we age.
If your goal is to lose unwanted weight, you may find that it is more of a struggle as we get older. You’re not alone! The good news is there are some simple tips you can use to help reach your health goals. Our advice on losing weight after 40 will help you establish the best exercise and weight loss routine for you.
For muscle growth
When it comes to muscle growth, nutrition is just as important as your training. In fact, combining training with the correct associated diet helps maximise fitness results as well as increase strength and muscle gains. You need to consider both type of food and caloric intake to successfully grow muscle. From a calory standpoint, it is easy – too few calories and you will exhaust yourself, too many calories and you will gain extra bodyfat. However, when it comes to type of foods, you need to think about meal timings and nutrients to fuel your body for optimum workouts and muscle growth. After all, muscles are mostly made in the kitchen!
In terms of workout equipment, resistance bands have become extremely popular in the fitness world and many different types are now available to exercise at home or at the gym. They are widely used to add resistance to upper-body exercises such as biceps curls, chest presses, and triceps extensions; as well as lower-body exercises such as squats, hamstring curls, and leg abduction exercises. The popularity of resistance bands mainly resides in the belief that they are great tools to help gain muscle and strength. But are they really worth all the hype?
Although men and women can do the same exercises, the difference in aesthetic goals, type of workout tolerance, body composition and natural predispositions all play a part in how we should exercise for optimum results.
As a man, you need to take into account your body type and how it may affect your results. There are three basic male body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. While we may have the characteristics of more than one body type, most of us fall more into one category than another. Your lifestyle, history and genetics all play a role in your body type. However, you can learn to overcome your natural tendencies and achieve your goals with some body-specific advice.
More and more women undertake weight training now than ever before, which is great as this type of exercise gives an edge on belly fat, stress and even heart disease. It is incredibly efficient when it comes to developing a toned figure as you will lose pure fat rather than lose both fat and muscle – which happens when you stick to aerobics only. The amount of calories burnt through weight training also tends to be greater as this type of exercise instigates a phenomenon called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), more commonly called the afterburn effect. This means your metabolism will stay elevated after you have stopped exercising to help the muscles to repair their fibres. Check our women’s guide to weight training to get started!
With circumstantial changes
Everyone can encounter temporary circumstances that make exercise more challenging. Whether it is the common cold, a recent injury, unusually hot weather, or a busy schedule; there is always a way to meet your exercise quota and exercise both safely and effectively around your current situation.
Injuries and sickness
Back problems can leave us wondering how and when to exercise to aid recovery and avoid future injuries. In the case of chronic pain, gentle exercising can be undertaken while the pain is there. As for sudden back injuries, it is recommended to work out once the majority of the pain has resolved.
Either way, maintaining body movements is always recommended to aid recovery. Bed rest should only last up to a couple of days as extended resting periods incurs muscle and bone loss, which makes the healing process more difficult. Exercising is always going to be beneficial when it comes to our backs, and our guide to exercising after back injury sheds light on what types of exercise to undertake and when it is safe to do so.
Another important dilemma encountered by exercisers is whether they should workout when they are hit by the common cold. The answer lies both in the symptoms and the type of workout that is intended. We must listen to our bodies in order to make the right decisions and exercise in a way that does not worsen our condition.
Exercising in the heat can be risky if you aren’t careful. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are dangerous side effects of overdoing your exercise routine in the summer. Thankfully, we have some tips on exercising in the heat to ensure you work out safely and look after your body in a way that will enable it to cope with loss of fluid and sustain the pace of your workout.
Focusing on health and fitness can be challenging, especially in the holidays. Not only do they bring extra opportunities for drinking and eating unhealthily, they also leave us with little time for exercising. This in turn leads to upset stomachs, guilty consciences and sluggish bodies. However, with a little planning and a holiday strategy, you can stay fit during the holidays and return to normality feeling good about your fitness.
For weight management
Losing weight is a commendable goal with plenty of health benefits, and exercising is a great way to work towards your targets. However, it is incredibly common for the scales not to budge for a few days or even weeks, which causes many of us to get discouraged. It is important to keep in mind that no matter what the scales say, you are accruing a variety of health benefits such as disease prevention, longevity, self-esteem, quality of life, and higher energy levels. As for your weight loss, click here to see why your workout isn’t working out!
For health management
Exercise, or lack thereof, has a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing. It is important to understand how working out can help improve an existing medical condition, as well as what types of exercise may be detrimental to certain conditions.
Can exercise cause a stroke? Exercise is always beneficial to our health. However, our fitness level, age and pre-existing medical conditions must be taken into consideration when it comes to creating an exercise routine. Knowing your limits means you will exercise safely and effectively for your overall health and wellbeing without aggravating any pre-existing conditions.
When it comes to children, research suggests that young adults are not getting enough exercise, with girls being less active than boys with only 1 in 3 managing an hour’s exercise or more daily. This lack of exercise could be a ticking time bomb for children’s health, particularly with good and bad habits formed at a young age. Illness can be prevented by addressing the issue and making some early lifestyle changes where possible.