An important part of a healthy lifestyle is exercise. It's recommended that we do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and although this really isn't much it can be really difficult to fit these workouts in if you're just starting out.
Personally I've never been big into fitness, (hence being overweight and unable to run for more than 30 seconds!) but I know it's really important both for loosing weight and for being healthier, also if there is ever a time when I need to run, I want to know that I'll be able to run without collapsing and dying.
As I've just started, once again, to attempt exercising, I figured an 'Exercising For Beginners' might be useful for some people. Obviously as I beginner myself it's not a perfect guide, instead just a few tips I believe are important in starting out exercising and also hopefully allowing you to carry on longer than a few days!
Structure & Routine
Sticking to a new routine of exercising can be really difficult, and therefore it's important to have a structure. This could be in the form of a timetable, organising what activities or exercises you do each day, or it could be setting an alarm for an hour earlier than normal and going for a run each morning. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you structure it around your normal day to day activities and you stick to it. Once exercising becomes a routine it becomes a lot easier.
Don't Over Do It
Although having a structure is important as it may force you to exercise when you might not really feel like it, be sure not to be too enthusiastic and over do it. Starting a new exercise routine can be difficult and shock your body. You don't want to burn out too quickly and loose all enthusiasm when you're knackered after a few days. Ease yourself in and gradually build up your fitness level. However that doesn't mean not to push yourself, it can be easy to tell yourself you're too tired and you can't do your work out today but remind yourself how important it is and get your butt into gear! Although make sure to look after yourself, and if you really need a break make sure to take one.
Pick Something You'll Enjoy
This can be a difficult one, as those who are beginners at exercising often don't enjoy exercise or are unfit and can struggle to see the enjoyment in feeling like you're dying whilst sweat pours down your face (myself included). However picking a workout/activity you enjoy is important to help you stick to it and not give up. These are some options that I think are great for beginners;
This is one of the first things people think of when they think of exercising, and for some people it's the best option. The fact it has to be payed for can often motivate people into going to the gym, it also has lots of different options for working out with treadmills, cross trainers/elipticals, rowing machines, weights, and sometimes swimming pools included. The gym is great for people who need to get out of the house to exercise, and can be good to do with a friend as you can motivate each other. However for a newbie it can sometimes be quite intimidating and joining a gym can be quite expensive.
Classes can usually go along with gym memberships, but can also usually be done without paying for a full membership. They are a great way of trying different exercises and there is a class for everyone. Popular ones are Zumba, Spinning, Boot Camp and Pilates. These are great for people trying to get into a routine as they usually happen weekly, they're also great fun if done with friends and you have the added motivation of other people watching you and the instructor encouraging you.
A more inexpensive and less intimidating form of exercise is workout DVDs. These are great as they can be quick and easy, you can do them at home when you have a spare 30 mins to an hour and there are so many options. One of my favourite DVDs is the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. This work out focuses on cardio, strength and abs and is also only 30 minutes long. It's great for those on a busy schedule, and also those who struggle to stick to a work out as this one has 3 stages each lasting for 10 days. Work out DVDs can usually be found cheaply online via amazon, or for free on youtube if you have a cheeky search.
Speaking of youtube, it can be a really great resource for starting up a new exercise routine. There are so many helpful videos and channels, whether it's tips and advice or quick work outs. It's also great if you want to focus on specific types of exercise such as muscle training and abs or yoga and pilates. My favourite fitness youtube is Blogilates , she has short, easy to follow work outs. She also has a Beginners Calendar where she tells you what videos to do for those just getting started into exercising.
Couch 2 5K
Running is a great way to exercise and for lots of beginners it can seem really daunting, however the NHS has a great programme for those just starting to run called the Couch 2 5 K. It's a week by week plan that coaches you through your running via an app or podcast you can download and listen to while you run. It aims to build you up from not running at all to being able to run a 5K within 9 weeks through running 3 days a week. It's a great idea for people who can't commit to exercising every day, or can be a good change from work out dvds or the gym. The NHS also has some other great fitness ideas on their page to check out here.
Track Progress/Reward Yourself
I think It's important when starting out exercising to track your progress. Whether this is through tracking the time it takes you to run a certain distance, or how you feel after your work out each time, or just tracking how often you worked out each week. This will encourage and motivate you to keep going and stick to the goals you've set. It's also important to reward yourself when you see some progress or are proud with how well you've done. Exercising can be a struggle when you're just beginning so be proud of how well you're doing, and soon you'll start to want to exercise and it won't be a chore any more.
I hope these tips and ideas have helped you out if you're just getting into exercising. If you're just starting out, or if you're a exercise fanatic let me know some of your tips for sticking to exercise, or give me some ideas about your favourite exercises to do. Heres hoping I can listen to my own tips and stick to my new exercise routine!