10 tips for starting a new exercise program

If you’re new to exercise, or you’re thinking about getting back into a new routine, there are certain things that will help make your journey more successful.

1. Choose something that you love to do. You’re much more likely to stay with an exercise program if you enjoy participating. Enjoyment the participation and finding it physically challenging are two very different things. Make sure you don’t mix these two things up!

2. Seek professional advice to ensure you’re doing it right. Engaging the services of a personal trainer will help you not only get more effective results, but you’ll reduce your chances of injury by ensuring your trainer is correcting your techniques and ensuring you’re performing movements safely.

3. Get a medical check-up from your doctor prior to starting. If there any underlying health concerns such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart conditions, it’s important your doctor diagnoses these. If there are any modifications to your program needed, your trainer should be happy to work with your health professional to put together the most appropriate program for you.

4. See it through. Be prepared to commit enough time to see results. You should start to see positive changes within 4-6 weeks but in order to see real results, you’ll need to stick with it for at least 12 weeks.

5. Write down your goals and read them before every workout. Don’t be afraid to set yourself a bigger long term goal which you feel is a bit out of reach right now. Break this down into smaller manageable chunks so that you can take one step at a time and celebrate small achievements along the way.

6. When you don’t feel like exercising, do it anyway. Commit to completing one small step. If you’re exercising at home, decide that you’ll do the first 5 minutes. If you are travelling to your exercise session, get dressed and get in the car. Just starting is enough for the feel good chemicals in your brain to start flowing and your mood will be improved instantly.

7. Record key measurements relating to your goals and track them as you go. If your goal is fat loss, record your waist, hip and thigh measurements. If your goal is to improve your endurance, record how far you can go without stopping.

8. Start gradually. It’s important to start slowly and progress gradually. A mistake many people make when starting on a new exercise program is trying to go too hard too soon. Avoid competing with others, follow your trainer’s instructions and be patient with the process.

9. Warmup thoroughly before your workouts and stretch properly afterwards. A gentle warmup for approximately 10 minutes before your workout helps your body prepare for exercise and reduces your chances of injury. Following your workout, static stretches held for 20-30 seconds allows muscles to lengthen and relax.

10. Remember recovery is just as important as any workout. Allow your body the chance to rest and recover between workouts. The best recovery strategies include gentle movement such as walking or swimming, gentle stretching and massage.

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