There are many benefits to starting a fitness routine and staying physically active. Regular exercise can improve your mood/happiness (i.e. endorphins) as well as your energy levels, while reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s important to assemble a fitness routine to achieve the many benefits of being active!
According to Healthline, practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss, assisting with weight loss, and maintaining strength as you age. Are you looking to be as strong as you were when you were younger? Or, are you looking to build a stronger foundation now so you can prevent injury or frailty later on? No matter the reason, each person’s fitness routine is tailored to their wants, needs, and fitness goals. It’s important to customize your routine and create something that works for you.
Start Sticking to a Regular Fitness Routine
1. Assess Fitness Levels & Set Goals
You most likely have a good idea of how fit you are. However, assuming that you want to take things to the next level, assessing and recording your baselines in terms of strength & cardio will be useful in gauging your progress later on. This could involve recording things like how long it takes to walk or run a mile, seeing how many push-ups you can do at one time, or taking body weight measurements. Moreover, this involves coming up with goals and thinking about what your main priorities are with a regular fitness routine. Having clear goals will help you measure your progress and help keep you motivated.
2. Design Your Customized Program
Having a balanced routine is important. The Mayoclinic.org recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity spread out over the course of a week. For even greater results, they recommend at least 300 minutes a week (five hours) of exercise per week. It does not mean that small amounts of physical activity aren’t worth it. Walking just 20 minutes a day can start to improve your physical and mental health. Whether its short periods of activity throughout the day, or a physical workout all in one shot, all types of exercise are beneficial when performed consistently throughout the week. Additionally, it’s recommended to do strength training for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. York Barbell recommends more for the avid weightlifter (3-4 times per week) with cardio mixed in on non-lifting days or as a warm up.
Start small and work your way up. Are you looking to re-establish a routine to gain back lost strength or stamina? Or is this your first attempt at a regular fitness routine? No matter the circumstance, it’s important to start small/slow and then work your way up. Starting an intense workout routine after living a sedentary lifestyle for a certain amount of time can spark injuries. Always remember, slow and steady wins the race and always listen to what your body is telling you. For former athletes or weightlifters, this can be really hard to do because you know what you were capable of before. With a consistent routine, you’ll be back to where you started in no time and enjoying the process along the way.
Differentiate your daily routine. Different activities, or cross-training, can help fight boredom in a routine and keep things fresh and engaging. A good mix of high impact (basketball or running) and low impact activities (swimming or biking) will make sure you’re not overworking one muscle or joint and will reduce chance of injury. Additionally, finding time to exercise can be a challenge. Alternating through different activities allows for working out to fit easier into your daily routine. For instance, walking during a lunch break or lifting weights while watching tv are two examples of this.
3. Assemble Your Equipment & Environment
Gathering the right equipment is crucial in preparing to start a regular fitness routine. As the “Strongest Name in Fitness,” York develops, manufactures and distributes quality strength and fitness products that enhance athletic performance and improve quality of life. We recommend purchasing home gym equipment that is truly built to last and has a reputation of longevity. The last thing you want is to buy equipment that won’t last. It doesn’t mean you need to go with the most expensive products on the market either. Other points of emphasis when buying quality equipment for your home gym are warranty options and product care tips. If something is defective or gets broken, that’s where warranties come in as well as knowing how to properly care for your equipment. Lastly, assess the space in which you plan to set up equipment or your home gym, so you have an idea of how much equipment you can accommodate. Environment and space are important factors in being motivated to workout.
4. Prepare & Get Started
Plan out your workout days and activities for the week either on a calendar or piece of paper. Determine which day(s) are your off days that consist of stretching, rest, and recovery. Writing your workout plan down will encourage you to stay on track. As life circumstances come up, re-write and adjust your plan accordingly. Remember, make your plan challenging but also fun! Physical fitness and strength training are inspiring and invigorating to those who attempt to prioritize it. Be kind to yourself on the road to a consistent fitness routine. Know that it takes time, patience, trust, and discipline to get to where you want to be and achieve your goals!
5. Monitor Progress & Aim for Consistency
Monitoring your progress by writing it down can help people stay motivated by seeing how far they’ve come and all that they’ve accomplished. There are many different ways to measure success, such as progress pictures, stepping on a scale, fitness apps, etc., so choose one that works for you. When starting out, the hardest part will be breaking bad or sedentary habits and starting new, active ones. Remind yourself that “slow and steady wins the race.” The most important thing will be trying to stay consistent when you’ve had a stressful week or you’re not feeling well.
Adjust your plan accordingly and simply do your best. If you feel yourself losing motivation, set new goals, try new activities, exercise with a friend, take a class, etc. Don’t give up! This is your journey to a stronger, healthier, happier life and the best things in life take time. By keeping a positive, determined attitude, you’ll be able to tackle any roadblocks that come along the way.
Starting a regular fitness routine is a meaningful decision. Don’t get overwhelmed if you fall short at first. By effective preparation, planning, and pacing yourself, you can achieve the lifestyle you desire!
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