SHAPING UP: How to succeed in making exercise an attainable part of your routine

Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your health – physically and mentally.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:00 am
it’s unrealistic to set your sights on running a marathon if you’re a beginner. Start with a smaller target of running 1km first.
it’s unrealistic to set your sights on running a marathon if you’re a beginner. Start with a smaller target of running 1km first.

Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your health – physically and mentally.

However, making exercise part of your routine takes a lot of determination, and sticking to it in the long term requires discipline.

If you’re new to exercise or you’re just starting back after some time off here's some tips to help you get into a routine.

Check Your Health

If you’re over 45 or not used to strenuous exercise, it’s advisable to see a doctor and get a physical medical examination before starting an exercise routine. This will help detect any health problems that could put you at risk of injury during exercise. It will also help you or your trainer to understand your limitations and create an exercise plan tailored to your particular needs.

Make a Plan and Set Realistic Goals

It’s really important to create a plan that includes attainable steps and goals. One way to do this is to start with a plan of easy steps to follow. Then you can continue building on it as your fitness level improves.

For example, it’s unrealistic to set your sights on running a marathon if you’re a beginner. Start with a smaller target of running 1km first. Then increase it to 2km, then 5km, and so on. Starting with small goals will not only increase your chances of success, it will also keep you motivated along the way.

Make It a Habit

Maintaining an exercise routine in the long term and making it a habit is the key to success. If possible, try to exercise at the same time every day so you make your workouts a part of your routine. It usually takes between 4-6 weeks to form a habit.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is one of the most important things when you start exercising. It helps you stay focused and energised when you’re working out, and it can also help you recover and get you ready for your next training session. My advice is to drink at least 2 litres of water and 2-3 cups of green tea a day.

Optimise Your Nutrition

Be sure to consume a balanced diet to support your fitness programme. Eating the right foods will fuel your body for workouts, keep you energised, curb cravings and help your body recover after workouts. Make sure you get a good balance of proteins, good fats and healthy carbs. Avoid refined sugars and bad fats found in takeaways etc.

If you’re just starting out and you have some weight to lose, it may be tempting to go on a low-calorie diet to lose weight quickly. But, in the long run you won’t be able to maintain it.

Warm Up

It's important to warm up before your workout to help prevent injuries. It can also help improve your flexibility and reduce soreness after your workout. Simply start your workout with some aerobic exercises like arm swings, leg kicks and squats. Alternatively, you can warm up by doing easy movements of the exercise you are planning to do. For example, walk for a few minutes before you go for a run run.

Cool Down

Cooling down is also important because it helps your body return to its normal state. Taking a couple of minutes to cool down can help restore normal blood circulation and breathing patterns and even reduce the chance of muscle soreness. A light walk and some stretching a good way to cool down.

Listen to Your Body

If you're not used to working out every day, be mindful of your limits. If you feel injury pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and rest before continuing. Pushing through the pain is not a good idea, as it can cause further injuries.

Stay Motivated

The key to staying motivated is to have fun while doing it. Joining a fitness class like boot camp, hiring a personal trainer or doing team sports are also good ideas to increase motivation and enjoyment.

We have some Beginners Boot Camp sessions at East Coast Fitness. The sessions are designed so that you can take everything at your own pace. The workouts raise your heart rate a challenge your muscles to help burn lots of calories, but there’s very little impact on your joints to help avoid injuries. Working out with a group can also really help with accountability and motivation because you’re all there to support each other, and it’s fun!

If you’d like more info about our Beginners Boot Camp sessions go to www.eastcoast-fitness.com