Summer is fast approaching and it is a summer full of sport. What better time to get off the sofa, ditch the fags, get yourself fit and trim. Introducing exercise into your life will not only make you feel good about yourself, it increases your energy levels and does wonders for your health and wellbeing. To ensure you stick to your new plan we have come up with a guide to get you started!
When deciding you want to include exercise in your life you must first recognise that a change in lifestyle is needed. All of us have a certain routine and sometimes the biggest challenge is changing our usual habits to accommodate exercise. Of course none of us are going to become athletes over night, but by making small changes to begin with, you can slowly transform your lifestyle to a much healthier one which encourages fitness. These changes can start off small for example cycling to work or including a short work within your normal daily routine or you may set yourself a goal to aim towards such as signing up for a marathon. This change in lifestyle can be the most difficult part of starting your new exercise plan. Trying to fit exercise between work, home life, relationships etc can be difficult however by making exercise a priority, you will soon find the motivation and energy for all areas of your life.
First of all you may want to start with a trip to the doctors to check the level of your health and fitness. This is a good place to begin as it will allow you to identify any restrictions to your health that may prevent you from certain activity and it will ensure you are in good physical fitness to begin your new exercise regime.
Next you may want to invest in some sessions with an instructor who can help you build your new exercise plan. They will take your current physical state into consideration as well as what you want to gain from your new lifestyle to find the best plan for you.
Remember – don’t push yourself too hard when you start your new routine. Although you may be eager and want to see results as soon as possible, by building up your training gradually not only are you more likely to stick to your routine, you will ensure you’re not pushing your body too hard.
If you’ve joined a gym, spend the first week finding your way around and learning how to use the different equipment and talking to instructors about your plan. If you are weight training, find a weight that you can easily lift for 3 sets of 15 reps with a minute rest between each set. If you’re planning to run, a good place to start is to run down your street and count 10 lamposts or houses, then run back home, then repeat as many times as you can. These are good starting points and give you a goal to improve upon.
Rest is equally as important as the training session itself. For your first couple of week try to rest two days for every day you train. This will allow your muscles time to recuperate after exercise and prepare them for the next session. It is important to build your intensity rather than the frequency of your exercise. For example training for 3 days a week with rests inbetween, whilst aiming to increase your time or distance or resistance is much more effective than trying to train everyday and pushing your body too hard.
Ensure you warm up and cool down before exercise for a minimum of 5 minutes as will prepare your body for exercise. Research has suggested that stretching after workouts improves strength and performance.
Following this guide as well as surrounding yourself with people who will motivate and encourage your new lifestyle will allow you to stick to your plan and make sure it doesn’t appear on next years to do list!