If you’re thinking of picking up fitness for the first time, congrats! You’re about to take a first step that can profoundly improve your health — both body and mind — even if weight loss isn’t your goal.
Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and take some smart steps to ensure safely, so you can keep moving for months and years to come.
First things first, talk to your doctor. It’s always a good idea to consult your primary care provider, in case he or she spots any red flags based on your personal health history. (Most likely, your regular M.D. will be happy to hear of this choice you’re making for your health. Way to go!)
Next, know your exercise types. Different fitness regimes can generally be broken down into strength, aerobic or flexibility training (though many exercises combine two or more of these disciplines). A well-rounded workout routine has all of these components, whether that’s brisk walking one day, gentle yoga the next and some use of free weights (for strength) on a third day. Thinking about your exercise choices in this framework might help you pick what you want to try first.
Before jumping in to any of these disciplines, consult a fitness pro. Working with a knowledgeable, certified professional greatly increases your . Fitness pros help with technique and can teach you how to ramp up exercise duration, intensity and frequency appropriately, helping you avoid physical and mental burnout or injury.
If a traditional gym routine isn’t in the cards for you, that’s OK! Just walk. It’s the easiest, cheapest, safest exercise you can do — and it has serious benefits, even with just a few minutes a day.
Then, figure out what motivates you. Stridekick users often tell us how motivating our friendly competitions are. Whether it’s logging into our online community boards, or going head-to-head against a friend in a step challenge, buddying up for accountability helps keep our users moving. Find whatever form of motivation works for you, whether that’s a virtual or IRL workout buddy, or some other form of motivational accountability.
Once you start, keep it up. It’s just fine if you go for a walk one day and don’t again for a month. Exercising is a lifestyle — a life-long one — so a week, a month or a year away from it doesn’t mean it’s too late to start again. In fact, in recent years, studies have repeatedly demonstrated the benefit of picking up strength-building and aerobic-training routines at any age. (With proper medical supervision, of course.)
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