So you haven’t pounded the pavement in ten years, or maybe you’ve never been a regular exerciser. It can be difficult to know where to begin, how much to do, or who to turn to for advice. Let’s first discuss how to jump in and get moving!
The best advice when you are getting started is to really just go for it. You don’t have to do too much reading or have a lot of knowledge to get outside and start putting one foot in front of the other. So often people say to themselves that they will start exercising when it gets warmer outside, or when it gets cooler outside. Sometimes the thought is that they are too busy and when things calm down, they will start exercising. Let’s remember what our dear friends from Nike suggest…..JUST DO IT! Life will always be busy and the weather is only perfect for a few months out of the year depending on where you live.
Now that you are ready to get started, don’t fall into one of the biggest pitfalls of exercise. It is easy to get so excited about this new lifestyle and body that you’re going to have that you want to get out there five to seven days per week. More is better, right? Let’s just bring that down a notch! There are several reasons to start off slow and steady! Any time you ask your body to do something that it is not used to, your muscles experience injury. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you are experiencing more than the typical sore muscles after exercise. Microscopic tears occur in your muscles, which cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is a normal, expected, and healthy side effect from exercise. However, you must let your muscles heal and recover! Hence the reason for not exercising every day when you are just getting started!
Even though we would like to think that if we start off with a bang and make exercise a daily habit, we’re more likely to stick with it, this is usually not the case. Changing a lifestyle takes time, energy, heart, and dedication. Be realistic and ask yourself, “how many days can I truly commit myself to exercise?” Although failure is a part of life, you want to start building confidence and feel that you are being successful with your new routine. Starting with two days per week of exercise may be right for you. It may even be that you feel that one day is all you can truly commit yourself to. Both of these options are perfectly fine and will help you to easily be successful and avoid over training and injury that is beyond the typical DOMS.
So what are good exercises to start with? The answer is easy! Start with something that you enjoy! Make exercise fun, not punishment! Ride your bike, go for a walk, swim, or go hiking. The possibilities are endless! Just remember, slow and steady wins the race. There is always time to become faster and increase your endurance in the future.
….stay tuned for Part II – How to stick with your new routine…