One of your resolution this year is to loose weight and get back into shape. You want to firm up, have more energy, and get rid of that spare tire around your waist. Now it’s now halfway through January…and you’re struggling to get started. It seems like there is a wide gulf between “deciding” to start working out…and actually doing it. Why? Because you’re not sure the best way to start! Here’s a beginner’s guide to starting your workouts!
First, don’t overwhelm yourself with what types of exercises to do. What’s important is just to start. “Any little increment of physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better,” says Rita Redberg, MSc, chairwoman of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Advisory Board for the Choose to Move program. So, you can actually start to get rewards from many different types and levels of exercise.
The AHA recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. So, the most important thing to do is – pick something to do, and get in the habit of doing it. Whether it’s a run on your treadmill, walking your dog, or something else you enjoy, what’s important is to get your heart rate up to about 70% of your maximum heart rate. You might want to look into a heart rate monitor or other fitness tracker (such as a FitBit or equivalent) and measure your heart rate. Not sure how best to do that? Learn more about checking your heart rate.
Next – if you’ve never worked out before, you might want to check with your doctor, especially if you’re 45 or older. With clearance from your doctor, you can then set yourself some fitness goals. Make them simple and easy to understand. And, set milestones for them. For example, setting a goal of running a marathon in 6 months is very vague. But, your goal is to get up to jogging 1 mile in the first week, 3 miles in the first month, 6 miles in 3 months, and so on – then you have acheivable targets to work towards. Keep in mind that the biggest mistake most people make is to set too aggressive a goal at the beginning. Start slow and low. This will keep you from getting sore, discouraged, or injured. You want to develop a sustainable habit, not knock yourself out of the game!
Finally, determine what your beginning workout should be. There are three different types of exercise to consider – cardiovascular (like walking or running), strength (like training with weights), and flexibility training (like stretching exercises). All three are important components to an overall exercise program. The balance of each is up to you. Flexibility training is good for loosening muscles that are tight, so doing a small bit of flexibility training prior to starting the rest of your workouit can help you avoid muscle soreness or injury. Cardio is great for building indurance for longer workouts, while also strengthening your heart muscle.
When it comes to Strength Training, many women are reluctant to add this to their workouts for fear of getting “builked up”. The best way to builk up is to do lifiting routines that are high weight / low reps. For women, as long as you do more reps / lower weight, what you’ll find is that you’ll tone and strengthen your body without getting bulked up. (Plus, the hormonal differences between men and women make it highly unlikely that as a woman, you’ll get bulked up anyway!). You should actually find that you’ll get leaner, as pound for pound, muscle takes up less space than fat!
Building core strength is also important to a good posture, healthy spine, and avoiding injury – and making sure strength training is part of your overall workout plan will also help you build endurance for longer cardio sessions.
You may want to consider adding some fitness accessories to your workouts – or even exercise equipment. Stop into any of our 3 Phoenix area locations, including our Scottsdale Superstore, Camelback Superstore, or I-10 Superstore. Our team here at Fitness 4 Home Superstore would be happy to talk to you about what you’d like to accomplish with your workouts. So whether you want to improve your cardio workouts, or add a strength training component to them, we can help you find the equipment to accomplish that!