It’s never been more important to take care of our health.
We’re spending more time at home, our routines and schedules have changed, we’re social distancing, and adjusting to our new normal.
In times like these, it’s crucial that we take time every day for our physical and mental health (even just a few minutes). And one of the best things we can do, is move.
Healthy exercise can make all the difference in how you think and feel. But workouts are easier said than done, especially for beginners!
Looking to start a new fitness journey, lose weight, get stronger, boost your confidence (or just get some normalcy back)?
We’ve put together a list of 15 workout and exercise tips every beginner needs to know to help you get started.
You can do this!
CREATE A SPACE
Decide where you’re going to workout. Choose a room or area of your home (with enough space to move) that you can dedicate to exercise. Where are you most comfortable? Is privacy important to you? What about outside? Consider your needs/preferences, and create a comfortable space.
START WITH 20 MINUTES
Or even less. Set yourself up for success by keeping the length of your workouts realistic for a beginner’s strength and endurance (and also for your busy schedule). Don’t feel discouraged after quitting an impossible 45 minute workout, feel like a champion for finishing a 20 minute one!
Also, we don’t want you getting hurt. Warm-up first, stretch after. If you have questions (or are recovering from any injuries), check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Make the time. Schedule workouts in your daily/weekly agenda or calendar. Keep this commitment to yourself like you would keep a doctor’s appointment or a work meeting. Get rid of the stress of wondering when you’ll get started or how you’ll find the time, by making the time and writing it down.
MAKE IT DO-ABLE
You’re a beginner. That’s amazing! You’re starting your journey, and I’m so proud of you for taking these steps. Challenge yourself with your workout, but keep it do-able for beginners (at a pace you can stick with throughout the entire interval/set). Exercise that is too advanced or so hard that you quit, doesn’t help at all. You’re not advanced yet, but you will be (if you make it do-able)!
FIND A PROGRAM
If you’re getting held up on what to do, how to do it, how many reps, how long/often, or how to progress, then let someone else figure it out! Find a beginner’s workout program to follow (e.g., a trusted book, video, app, trainer, or youtube channel) that provides you with a progressive workout plan, guidance and motivation.
If you’re a beginner, low impact workouts are a great place to start, easing yourself into exercise while you build up strength, endurance, and confidence. Low impact exercises are also safer for beginners, as they are of lesser risk of injury (e.g., step out jacks instead of jumping jacks, walk/jog in place instead of high knees).
MODIFY (INSTEAD OF QUIT)
If you’re not strong enough yet for the push-ups in your workout, you’ll just sit that part out, right? Umm, no. Don’t give up, modify! If push-ups are too hard, do modified push-ups (on knees) instead. Can’t hold a plank? Do a modified plank in its place. There are modified versions of most exercises that lessen their difficulty (build your strength with these first).
Dread the daunting thought of a 20 minute workout? Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Instead of one long session, you’ll instead do short bursts of higher intensity exercises (e.g., 20 seconds) followed by a quick rest in between, for the duration of the workout. So don’t think “20 minutes”, think “20 seconds”! You can do anything for 20 seconds. Check it out and see if it’s right for you.
BREAK IT UP
Pace yourself. Strength training one day, light cardio the next day. Don’t over exert yourself with too much back-to-back (especially with strength training or with the same muscle sets). Breaking it up will allow your muscles to rest and help to make your workouts more effective.
On the same note, rest days (with no workout) are important. Schedule rest days in your daily/weekly agenda or calendar the same way you schedule your workouts (as a commitment to yourself). Give yourself a total rest day after every 2-3 days of workouts.
Pump yourself up! The right music can make the difference between a good and bad workout (or between finishing a workout or not). Many popular workout apps allow you to listen to your own music (instead of theirs) while powering through your session (check your settings). Spotify has many workout playlists available for the extra boost you need to get through your toughest workouts!
Check out our post on the 36 songs on Michelle Obama’s fitness playlist.
JUST DO IT
All you need to do is start. Just do it. Just do it. If you can do just one workout, just one time – then you can do it again, just one time. And again. Until you’ve reached your goals. Starting can be the hardest part. Just do it.
PROGRESS NOT PERFECT
You’re a beginner, you won’t be perfect. You won’t be strong enough yet to always finish all the reps or have the proper pose/position. You might be uncoordinated, or not know how to do some exercises at all. Maybe your workout will be interrupted. Don’t worry! And don’t let this stop you. You will learn, get stronger, and your confidence will build. For now, focus on progress, not perfection.
IT IS POSSIBLE
Keep your exercise goals even easier to stick to by adding variation to your routine and by focusing on physical activities that you enjoy (don’t get bored). You can do this, you will do this, you are doing this! It is possible.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health (and your life). If you have any questions or concerns about your physical/mental health or what exercise program may be safest or best for you, always check with your doctor first. Do your research to see what’s right for you.
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