by Roselle James
Starting an exercise routine can be one of the most important things you do to improve your life. However, there are also a lot of misconceptions surrounding the idea – concerning which exercises are best, what effects they can have on our bodies in the long term, and what kind of professional assistance might be required. To help you sift through some of the considerations involved, we’ve written up five things it’s helpful to know as a fitness newcomer. The following will be helpful whether you’re focused on weight loss, improving your performance in a given discipline, or just looking for a healthy new hobby.
1. Variety Will Insure that You Keep Making Progress
Starting and keeping up with an exercise routine is not easy. Those who manage to exercise regularly will start noticing some changes in their body after just a couple of weeks though. They will feel more energy, lose weight, and even build a bit of muscle. But they might also notice that, at some point, those improvements slow down.
This happens because, as your body becomes stronger, it demands more exercise in order to show progress. Accordingly, slow and progressive changes in the frequency and intensity of your routine give you an excellent way to achieve keep improving, while also reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems due to excessive exercise. It’s also important to switch things up and try different exercises, as this will allow different muscle groups to get involved.
2. Different Objectives Require Different Routines
We tend to think of exercise as a “one size fits all” sort of solution. This can lead to people making mistakes like copying an exercise routine that worked for a friend, or mimicking a fun fitness activity they saw online. While these can be harmless efforts however, and it’s certainly fine to draw inspiration from external sources, it’s ultimately best to figure out your own objectives before deciding on a routine.
If you aren’t used to physical activity, it’s generally best to start with walking and other low-intensity activities. If you do exercise regularly but you want to prepare for a specific endeavor (say, a marathon), you should choose a routine accordingly. The same is true if you want to work on a given muscle group, or ramp up to a new activity (like kickboxing!).
3. Not All Trainers Are the Same
As we explained, exercise routines can vary dramatically depending on a person's objectives, which can go far beyond losing weight or wanting to build muscles. Just as you should choose routines based on your objectives though, you should also be aware that there are all sorts of trainers and coaches out there who can help you in different ways depending on your goals.
While many think of a “physical trainer” in a limited way, there are actually numerous types of exercise science professionals who can assist you in developing just the sort of routine you want. A fitness coach will keep on you generally from a motivational standpoint; a strength and conditioning specialist will help you to tailor your habits to building muscle; a personal trainer will work with you to develop an understanding of general fitness needs. In short, whatever you’re looking for as you approach fitness, there’s a professional who can help you reach your goals.
4. Even a Little Exercise Can Improve Your Life
People who start exercising tend to expect (or at least want) quick results, whether to look good for summer or simply to feel a little more capable in the midst of day-to-day activity. As a result, many tend to start with highly demanding routines –– which unfortunately increases the likelihood of quitting before any real progress is made.
The important truth to remember is that you don’t have to ramp things up so quickly in order to benefit from a new routine. We mentioned above that just a few weeks can bring physical results that you’ll notice in the mirror. Additionally, research on physical activity has shown that even a little bit of exercise can actually make us happier! So remember, even if you start slowly and ramp up gradually, you’re making improvements.
5. It Has Proven Mental Benefits We just mentioned that exercise can make people happier, and this speaks to the fact that your new routine will provide you with a number of mental benefits. Kickboxing instructors, for example, will explain how practicing this discipline can help people regulate their emotions, which can even help them to make improvements regarding unhealthy behaviors like substance abuse and binge eating. On top of that, research has found that people who exercise tend to report additional mental benefits like a reduction in stress and feelings of tiredness, as well as improved sleep. Exercise has even been associated with the successful management of depressive symptoms, which is why so many therapists recommend it. Becoming fit is among the most common goals people set for themselves. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the objectives people struggle with the most. But by keeping tips like these in mind, you can break the cycle and find a routine you can stick to in order to better your health.
Article written by Roselle James, exclusively for Hit House