We’ve spoken before about dealing with the aging process. A widening waistline or finding it difficult to bend down to pick things up alerts you to the reality that you’re maybe not in the best shape. At that point… or sometime later… you may decide to start a new exercise program.
Avoiding setbacks along the exercise journey is important. Otherwise, any one of these can stop you in your tracks – sometimes literally – and you may never get back to healthy physical activity again. To help you, here are 4 tips to start a new exercise program and prevent unnecessary setbacks.
1. Go Slow and Remove Ego
The longer you haven’t exercised and the older you are, the more important it is to start slowly. If you’re jogging or walking around the park, understand that it’s not a race! Other experienced runners and fast walkers who have been doing it much longer than you may speed past you… and that’s okay. They’re doing their routine and you’ll have yours.
It’s far more important to develop at your own pace. Avoid trying to match other people’s performance. Also, if you can find a beginner runner or a friend to accompany you to the gym, then do this because it creates much-needed accountability too.
2. Don’t Forget to Stretch First
It’s critically important that you stretch out first.
The muscles will be extremely tight if you've not exercised for months or years before. Even if you have been performing yoga or some other exercises at home, you’ll likely use different muscle groups when exercising in a new way.
Stretching allows your muscles to remove tension and lengthens them a little too. It helps to reduce the chance of a pulled muscle or a strained tendon.
3. Get into a Predictable Routine
Only exercising occasionally isn’t going to work well if you intend to get results from increased physical activity.
Create a predictable routine. This means making exercise a part of your life and adding it to your schedule. If you have to set up a reminder for when to slide on the trainers and go outside or head to the gym, then so be it.
4. Purposely Relax the Muscles Between Bouts of Physical Fitness
In the early days of exercising especially, it’s advisable to put time into relaxing the body. Overstrained muscles that aren’t given time to recover are prone to injuries and little annoying niggles that can set you back.
Getting a soak after a workout is better than showering and quickly moving on with the rest of your day. It does more to ease tense muscle fibers, so they have a better chance to repair overnight. There are hot tubs for sale in Northern Ireland, so they’re accessible and affordable enough that they‘re not just for the wealthy now.
Lastly, set goals for your exercise routine. Once you’ve got into the swing of things, aim to improve initial times for walks or jogging. If you go on different routes each time, then extend the duration or speed. Or increase the speed on gym equipment gradually to do the same. Tying goal achievement to fitness makes it even more rewarding and encourages your further participation.