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.
This can easily be done from the comfort of your own home, which 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.
Being more active is always going to be beneficial to our health, and the good news is you do not need to perform long and intricate workouts to get significant results. There is nothing stopping you from achieving your goals at home, whether it is to lose weight, boost your confidence, improve your fitness or increase your energy levels.
Exercising at home means you can build an exercise program tailored specifically around your routine and what you enjoy doing, which improves your chances of keeping your new habit in the long term. Additionally, most home workouts can be achieved with everyday items or simply body weight, so you do not need to splash out on expensive equipment to get started and build a long-term fitness habit.
You will soon be enjoying plenty of the benefits that being active bring, such as improved self-confidence, better sleep, decreased stress levels, stronger muscles and lower body fat to name a few.
Before you start
There are a few measures you should consider taking before starting any exercise program, especially if you are going to exercise by yourself.
Consulting your GP is an essential precautionary measure if you have any pre-existing health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or a history of heart disease. These will not stop you from exercising, but you may need to discuss workout adaptations to exercise safely.
Motivation can be an issue when exercising at home, which can be tackled by enlisting the help of family and friends to support you and help you remain accountable for your progress. Setting goals can also help you remain committed and motivated. Make sure these are specific and attainable in the short term in order to observe your progress effectively. If you are going to use scales to set targets, make sure you use variables such as body fat percentage and muscle mass instead of just body weight.
Build your routine
If you are completely new to exercise, low intensity workouts are recommended to get to grips with the exercises you choose and avoid both injuries and over-exertion. There are many ways you can get your exercise fix at home, including the following:
- Online workouts: There is a plethora of free exercise videos available online, so you can easily browse and pick exercise videos that suit your ambitions. Simply search for workouts on websites such as YouTube by typing your current fitness level and goals or preferred exercises.
- Bodyweight exercises: You do not need any equipment to burn calories and build stronger muscles. Bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and crunches will work your upper and lower body as well as your core muscles. Start with low reps (for instance 5 reps for each exercise) and repeat the sequence several times. Add more reps as you get stronger and build your confidence.
- Home ‘equipment’: You can use items around your house to add to your exercise routine. For instance, use full water bottles as weights or use your staircase to create a step routine.
- Chores: Turn your household chores into a quick workout! If you are on a tight schedule, you could multitask by combining working out with doing your chores. There is always a way to sneak exercise into your housework, whether it’s dancing while dusting, lunging while hoovering, squatting while emptying the dishwasher, or stepping while washing up.
- Exergames: If you have a console such as a Wii U or Kinect, try games that get you exercising such as Wii Fit, Zumba and EA Sports active. These will not only get you moving but also track your activity and progress to keep you motivated in addition to making your workout more fun.
However you choose to exercise, the crucial point is how often you exercise. Consistency is key, so keep an exercise calendar to track the days you exercise, and consider using targets that are centred around time and frequency – for instance, aim to do three 30-minute workouts per week.
Listen to your body
A common mistake made by beginners is to exercise too much too soon. Start slowly, pace yourself, and slowly build up your workouts to avoid burning out. Take the time to build a strong base for yourself and make your journey work for you and your body.
Challenge yourself as you improve and know your limits. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, but ensure you stay tuned to your body and do not power through any sort of pain or discomfort. Take breaks when necessary and make sure you get the necessary rest your body needs to recover.