If you’re seeking a way to be healthier, happier, and more balanced, then exercise is something you should aim to do every day, even if it means five minutes of getting your body moving.
Short workouts of five minutes will be beneficial, but beginning a workout program isn’t a five minute decision.
There are some things you should know, and do, before you start exercising:
Check Your Health
Before you begin any workout program, you should always check with your doctor. It’s best to have a professional’s approval and recommendation before exercising.
Your ability to exercise may be affected by medications you take, bone or joint issues, and diseases like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. High impact moves and aerobics may be particularly risky for those of us with certain health histories.
In addition to making sure you won’t inadvertently cause yourself harm, your physician may also be able to help you select a workout that will be most effective for you.
Modify If Necessary
If it has been quite a while since you’ve exercised, you may not be able to do every move perfectly. It is always best to perform exercises at your level, not the level of others. And don’t worry, you’ll still benefit!
Modifications exist for almost all exercises. Just check ahead before starting your chosen workout, whether at home or at the gym.
Keep in mind that even if a move seems easy when you first try it, you could be very sore the next day. As you start to exercise, take it easy and just try it out first. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you’ll be as well.
Know What Equipment You Need
Weights, mats, bands, sliders, balls. Not all workout routines utilize specialized equipment, but some do. Always make sure you have the appropriate tools before you start to exercise, or you’ll have to stop in frustration.
Even if you choose to do mostly body weight exercises like squats or pushups, or you want to get your muscles moving by walking around the park, you still need to make sure you have comfortable exercise clothes and footwear.
Other things to keep handy while exercising, no matter what sort of workout you choose, include a towel and a bottle of water.
Be Realistic About Benefits
Exercise has incredible benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes to improving mental health and mood.
However, exercise alone may not contribute much to weight loss. A study from the National Institute of Health found that weight loss during an exercise program is usually modest, about 4 pounds over 16 weeks. Combining exercise with healthy foods is the best way to guarantee weight loss.
There are other benefits, though, such as increased strength and tone, which can make clothes fit better even without a decrease on the scale.
Fuel Your Body
When you exercise, you’re using energy. It’s important to make sure you eat appropriate foods so that you can get the most out of your workout and have an efficient recovery.
A report combining multiple studies suggests eating a snack with carbohydrates, but low in fat (such as a granola bar), before working out to make sure you have the energy to do your best. After working out, aim for foods high in protein, like eggs.
Of course, the most important thing is to stay hydrated before, during, and after a workout.
So Let’s Recap:
Before you workout, make sure you are prepared and knowledgeable.
You should meet with your physician, check in advance for modifications of intense moves, make sure you have the right equipment and attire, set a realistic expectation of benefits, and eat meals that will fuel your body.
If you follow these recommendations as you start an exercise program, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, more balanced you.