Establishing a fitness routine is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s often difficult to know where to begin. The good news is that everyone, regardless of age, body type, size, or shape, can reap the benefits of physical activity, which include improved mental and physical health. Moreover, there are many different ways to get your body moving – and have fun while doing it!
At Atrius Health, we are here to support you on your health journey, so here is a quick guide to starting a fitness routine for long-term success.
Many people forget that regular exercise is as healthy for your mind as it is for your body. Even a low-impact activity, like a walk around the block, can improve cognition and relieve anxiety in adults. Not only that, but regular physical activity can reduce the risk of depression, improve your self-confidence, and help you sleep more soundly. Getting your body moving is a great way to stimulate various chemicals in your brain that can leave you in a better mood.
Engaging in regular physical activity can also help reduce the risk of some of the leading causes of death in the United States. Research shows that getting just 20 minutes of exercise per day can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, and several cancers by lowering your blood pressure and boosting HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.
Exercise can also strengthen your bones and muscles, and increase your endurance as you age. By sticking to a fitness routine, you can help prevent the loss of muscle mass and reduce your risk of injuries that can come from a fall, such as a hip fracture.
There are many different types of exercise for all body types, ages, interests, and skill levels. Choosing one that you enjoy is a great way to incorporate it more easily into your schedule.
For beginners or those with joint pain or mobility issues, low-impact exercise is a great place to start. Low-impact exercise increases your heart rate and helps you break a sweat without placing significant stress on your joints. It also reduces the chance of injury, allowing you to remain consistently active. Some examples include walking, swimming, yoga, or biking, all of which can be done solo or with friends.
Another great way to get moving is by strength training. While it may sound intimidating – there are many different types of weightlifting that are accessible for all fitness levels.
Lifting weights can strengthen your bones, boost your metabolism, and can even help reduce the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis or heart disease. For beginners, starting off with bodyweight exercises is a great way to build your strength before incorporating equipment like dumbbells or weight machines.
One of the most important, yet most difficult, aspects of establishing a fitness routine is remaining consistent. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help make exercise an exciting component of your day.
Listen to Your Body
First and foremost, it’s important to listen to your body and assess your current condition and goals before you get started. Pushing yourself past your limits is a recipe for burnout. When developing your plan, set realistic goals for yourself, include rest days in your schedule, and slowly build your endurance before adding to your regimen. This allows your body to acclimate to your new routine.
To ease the transition of adding exercise into your day, scheduling exercise time on your calendar, just like other appointments, can be a way to work it into your day. Also, setting concrete goals and tracking your progress gives you something to look forward to as you become stronger.
Try Something New
If you find yourself bored or unmotivated, change up your routine! Engaging in a variety of exercises and activities will work different muscles and keep your brain happy too. Group fitness is an excellent option here – from high-energy classes such as Zumba or step aerobics to more low-impact classes like yoga or Pilates, being a part of a group can be exciting and motivating. If group fitness feels overwhelming, another option is to find a friend or accountability partner to share your goals with and help you stay on track.
Although it can be daunting at first, establishing a fitness routine is an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Being physically fit enables you to comfortably enjoy all that life has to offer and improve your mood while you’re at it.