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Exercise tips for beginners

Here are a list of must know do's and don'ts for workout beginners!

Exercise tips for beginners

If you have recently resolved to begin exercising more, you may feel like you have good intentions but aren't quite sure where to start.  Well don't sweat it (pun intended), we've got you covered!  Here are a list of must know do's and don'ts for workout beginners!

  • Consult your physician.  If exercise hasn't been part of your life for a long time or if you have any underlying health issues, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor.  Your doctor will be able to let you know what types of exercise will be safest and most beneficial to you based on your medical history.

  • Think healthy.  You can get little bits of moderate exercise in through daily activities if you pick up the intensity just a little bit; whether you're vacuuming or mowing the lawn, even deciding to take the stairs at work or parking the car a little farther away.  Every little bit helps and thinking of your daily activities as part of your exercise routine will help to get you in the right mindset to successfully make physical activity a part of your daily life.

  • The bare minimum.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as a brisk walk, at least 5 days a week for cardio vascular health.  It doesn't have to be a continuous 30 minutes, but it does have to be at least 10 minutes continuously and total at least 30 minutes throughout the day.  If you are starting an exercise routine, strength training and vigorous aerobic activity will likely be part of your routine in addition to moderate exercise.  Strength training should be done at least twice a week and target all muscle groups (don't skip leg day!).  Vigorous aerobic activity should be done for at least 75 minutes a week but spread out throughout the week in increments of no less than 10 minutes.

  • The ideal amount.  This is going to vary from person to person, but the main thing is to make regular physical activity a part of your lifestyle and too many days off will undermine your goal.  30 minutes of moderate exercise every day should be the goal.  As for strength training and more vigorous aerobic exercise, 3-5 days a week is optimal. Some fitness experts recommend doing six days a week for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that you are trying to start a new exercise habit and you need to make it a daily activity in order to make it a habit.  The other reason is that things happen.  Maybe you planned to go to the gym, but had to stay late at work and now it's time to pick the kids up from soccer practice already.  By planning on six days, even if something comes up, you still hit your goal of 3-5 days a week.

  • And on the seventh day…  You need at least one rest day!  Too little exercise is bad, but too much exercise can sometimes be worse.  You don't want to wear your body down or get injured.  Your muscles need the rest so they can heal and you need the rest because, if you're doing it right, you should be exhausted!

  • Doing it right.  If you are new to strength training, knowing what machines to use and how to make sure you are getting a full body work out can be a bit overwhelming.  Meeting with a personal trainer for your first few workouts can have an immense impact on your routine.  They will show you proper technique, how to use equipment, and keep you on track as you are starting out.  If you are interested in getting in contact with a personal trainer, We Care of Community Care Physicians offers access to personal trainers and fitness centers.  Community Care fitness centers also offer free orientation to help you learn how to use the machines.

  • Start small.  Please, don't try to set the world record for bench press the first time you step into the weight room.  Pace yourself.  Maybe for you, a few weeks of daily moderate aerobic exercise is all you need to do to get started.  Then you can get into weight training and more vigorous aerobic activity.  When you do start weight training, start slow and don't worry about how much weight you are doing.  After a while, the running will seem easier and the weight will feel lighter because you are getting fitter and stronger–and that's the goal!

  • Start slow.  A warm up and cool down are essential to your workout.  Jumping right into an intense workout without stretching or warming up first is a good way to get injured.  Your body has been in a resting or low energy state for a while and needs to ease into an intense workout. So start slow and then start to ramp up the intensity.  Don't stop too abruptly after your workout either.  Slowly decrease intensity to ease your heart and muscles into that lower energy state.

  • Don't overdo it.  When you start exercising, a little muscle ache and heavy breathing is to be expected. However, if you experience sharp pains in your muscle or joint, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pains stop exercising immediately.  If you experience any of these symptoms while exercising you should consult your doctor.  They could be an indication of an underlying medical condition or you may be working out too vigorously for your fitness level and may need to scale back your workout.

  • Get the right equipment.Don't try running in high heels or cowboy boots.  If you are running, get running shoes.  If you joined a Yoga class, get a Yoga mat.  The right equipment can help prevent injury and will help you to get the most out of your new fitness activity.

  • Look after your body.  Exercising is going to make you hungrier than usual and you are going to need to make sure you are getting enough fluids.  Drink plenty of water and make sure you are eating the right foods.  All the exercise in the world won't help if you pig out on nothing but junk food in between workouts, but at the same time you don't want to starve yourself either.  Your body needs the energy it gets from the right foods to help you crush your workouts every day! We Care of Community Care Physicians can help with meal planning to help you achieve your fitness goals.

  • Mix it up.  If the only exercise you are doing is running, eventually your body will adapt to run more efficiently.  This is good if you want to start racing, but it also means you are building less muscle and burning fewer calories.  Mixing up workouts is a great way to keep exercise fresh and exciting.  It is also a very good way increase to cardiovascular fitness, build different muscles and gain flexibility.  We Care of Community Care Physicians also has a variety of different fitness classes to choose from!

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