Exercise is Essential: Ideas for Beginners
Starting a new routine can be daunting. With a little planning and commitment, a new exercise routine can help you on your way to better health.
Why should I exercise?
Being physically active on a regular basis can help improve your overall health.
- Improve Brain Health Exercise is good for your brain. Regular exercise can reduce memory loss and dementia. Research also shows how being active can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improve Heart Health Regular exercise promotes endurance. This reduces shortness of breath, weakness and supports your heart.
- Gain Physical Strength Using weights, resistance bands or exercising in a pool prevents loss of muscle. This improves balance and can help prevent falls.
- Increase Flexibility & Balance With exercise your muscles get stretched. This lessens the stiffness in your muscles, improves your posture and builds confidence.
- Sleep Better After a good workout, people tend to fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night. A good night’s rest makes it more likely that you will be ready to workout again the next day.
How do I start an exercise routine?
Even if you've been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. Just for today, set a reachable goal. Then tomorrow do it again, and the next day, and the next day, and the next. Then increase your time as you get stronger. It’s possible to work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. 150 minutes sounds like a lot. Though when spread out across the week, it’s just a little over 20 minutes per day. And you get to choose which activity you do.
Do you like dancing? Turn on your favorite tunes and shake a leg. In just 6 or 7 songs you’ll get a full workout in without even noticing. Need to take a breather? Walk in place for a few minutes then get back to dancing when you’re ready.
Do you prefer to be outside? Maybe hiking, walking, or biking would be a good place for you to start. Or maybe gardening or landscaping would appeal to you. Whatever your interests may be try to find a way to add physical activity to it.
Do you enjoy going to the pool during the summer? Try swimming a few laps next visit. Maybe increase your time each week and work your way up to 20-30 minutes by the end of the summer.
It's so hard to stick to an exercise routine. What if I miss a day or week?
Like any other routine, it will take planning, time, and effort to stick to your exercise routine. Having a workout buddy or an accountability partner can help you stick to your exercise goals. This kind of commitment to your health lends extra motivation to stay in routine on days you just aren’t feeling it. The two of you can make a commitment to stick to your plans and encourage each other to meet at the park, or get on the treadmill, or go for that swim rather than stay home and watch television.
Do what you can every day. Not able to take that 20-minute walk today, tomorrow, or any other time this week? As soon as you can, just pick right back up where you left off the last time you were in routine.
You can do this!
Links to Exercise Recommendations
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
CDC Article – How much physical activity do adults need?