Regular exercise and fitness is essential for achieving and maintaining good physical health. Despite all the good it does, however, creating a regular routine and sticking to it can be difficult. Read on for 10 easy steps that will help you establish a lasting exercise and fitness routine.
1. Find an activity/s you enjoy.
Finding something that you enjoy is key to staying motivated and making your routine exciting. Look for activities that excite and that you look forward to doing. Examples include dance classes, running, swimming, martial arts, cycling and more.
2. Maximum enjoyment at optimal intensity.
Mix up the intensity levels of activities to keep it enjoyable while still getting a good workout. Incorporating interval training, in particular, is great for this.
3. Make achievable goals.
Set yourself achievable goals that are tailored to your ability and expectations. Aim for one a month, and be sure to reward yourself for reaching them!
4. Know your ‘why’.
Throughout your routine, it’s important to stay motivated. Knowing the reasons why you do it, such as feeling stronger and more energised, is key to keeping you on track.
5. Structure your routine.
Be consistent and stick to it. Determine which days and times of the week you’ll complete each type of exercise, or alternate from one exercise to another on the same day.
Feelings of stagnation can quickly arise when doing the same exercises over and over. Try doing a range of exercises each week, such as HIIT, weight training, yoga and/or a cardio-based activity — for instance jogging, cycling or using a rower.
7. Track your progress.
Measurement is key. Try using a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker to monitor your progress and make adjustments accordingly.
8. Get a buddy.
Find a friend, family member or colleague with similar goals and agree to support each other through the journey, challenging and encouraging each other along the way.
9. Respect rest days.
Rest days are just as important as your exercise days. Having designated rest days helps your body to recover and makes it easier to stick to your routine with more enthusiasm.
10. Reward progress.
Lastly, make sure you reward yourself for all the hard work you put in! That might look like a massage, a bubble bath, a new pair of gym shoes — you name it.
Creating and maintaining an exercise and fitness routine is challenging, but hopefully these 10 easy steps will help you establish a lasting routine and joyfully reap the rewards of physical well being.
What are the benefits of starting an exercise and fitness routine?
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health: Regular physical activity can help your heart become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood around your body.
2. Weight Management: Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, by burning off excess calories consumed throughout the day.
3. Improved Muscle Strength: Engaging in regular exercise can help strengthen your muscles, making activities such as carrying groceries, playing sports and climbing stairs easier.
4. Improved Flexibility: Stretching before and after exercise can help improve flexibility, so that you can move and perform better throughout your daily activities.
5. Stress Relief: Regular physical activity can alleviate mental, emotional and physical stress. It is also a great way to reduce built-up anxieties.
6. Improved Sleep: Exercise can promote better sleep patterns, helping you to improve the quality of your rest, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized.
7. Improved Self-Esteem: As you become fitter, you will start to feel better about yourself and become more confident in your own body.
What exercises are best for a beginner at the gym?
1. Seated Row – This works your back and shoulder muscles, and is a great exercise for anyone who is new to the gym.
2. Lat Pulldown – This exercise is similar to the seated row, but it works your lats more intensely. It’s also an effective exercise for beginners.
3. Leg Press – This exercise works your legs, and it’s easy to learn and begin doing with very little instruction from a trainer.
4. Chest Press – This exercise works your chest muscles and is relatively simple to learn.
5. Squats – Squats are a great exercise that focus on your entire lower body.
6. Push Ups – Push ups are a great bodyweight exercise that isn’t too difficult to learn, but can still give you a good workout. They focus on your chest and triceps.
7. Lunges – Lunges are a great exercise for working your lower body. They can be done with or without weights and can be easily modified for any fitness level.
What type of equipment should a beginner use at the gym?
A beginner should use cardio equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. Strength training equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands, and machines can also be great for building strength. Additionally, using a stability ball, foam roller, and stretching mat or mat for yoga are also good tools for beginners.