Exercising on a regular basis is one of the greatest favours that you can do for your health and wellness. Very quickly after you begin exercising, you’ll start to see – as well as feel – the benefits that physical activity can for your body and health. Unfortunately, working exercise into your weekly routine requires a lot of determination. Adhering to it, in the long term, requires you to have bucket loads of determination!
Benefits of regular exercise
It has been shown that exercising has been shown to significantly improve your health. Regular exercise’s greatest benefits include:
- Assisting you with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight,
- Maintaining muscle mass, and
- Reducing your risk of chronic disease.
In addition, research has shown that exercise can lift your mood, boost your mental health, help you sleep better as well as help you to maintain good energy levels.
The first step in any workout routine is to assess how fit you are for your selected physical activity. When you start an exercise programme, it’s wise to consult a medical practitioner. Anyone who has major health risks, men aged 45 and older, and women aged 55 and older should get medical clearance. However, no matter what your medical condition is it is always possible to work out in some way.
After assessing your fitness, it helps to set workout goals. For example:
- Do you want to prepare to run a 5K?
- Hit the gym five times a week?
- Or just walk around the block without getting winded?
When setting these goals, make sure that these are S.M.A.R.T, which stands for:
- Realistic, and
If the fitness goals that you set have these characteristics, you’ll be more likely to achieve these.
Your First Cardiovascular Workout
Here’s a great cardio workout to start out with.
Select any cardio machine, set it on a manual mode and find your warm-up pace. For most of the workout, change the settings (incline, speed, resistance, etc.) every few minutes to work at a moderate level. End with a cooldown. Throughout your workout, use the perceived exertion scale. This scale gauges the intensity at which you’re exercising on a scale from 1 to 10.
- Five minutes: Warm up at an easy-moderate pace. Perceived Exertion Level (PE): 4
- Five minutes: Up your speed, incline, and/or resistance so that you’re just out of your comfort zone but still can talk. This is your baseline. PE: 5
- Two minutes: Up your speed, incline, and/or resistance until you’re working a little harder than your baseline effort. PE: 6
- Three minutes: Reduce your speed, incline, and/or resistance back to your baseline. PE: 5
- One minute: Increase your speed, incline, and/or resistance until you’re working a little harder than baseline. PE: 6
- Four minutes: Reduce speed, incline, and/or resistance back to a moderate level. PE: 4
Getting Started With Weight Lifting
Before you get started with lifting weights, there are a number of things that you need to know:
- Always bring a towel with you and be kind enough to wipe off the machines, benches and equipment that you make use of.
- Re rack all the weight and put all the dumbbells or barbells, that you use, where you found them.
- Don’t rest for long periods of time on a machine that another person is waiting for. If it is possible, work in with them between sets. Most gym goers are more than willing to share a machine when they are asked nicely.
Here are some common mistakes that quite a lot of people make when starting out with weight lifting. If you know about these, you can easily avoid them:
- Using too much weight, too soon. Always start lower than your anticipated ability and work your way up in your first workout. If your form is suffering, you are swinging the weight, or using momentum, this shows that you may be utilising too much weight. Greater momentum will likely increase the potential for injury and, in addition, reduces the effectiveness of the exercise to the muscle group you are targeting.
- Not making use of enough weight. Always play it safe, however if you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it’s possibly time to increase it a bit but do so no more than about 5% at a time.
- Moving through repetitions too quickly, going too fast. There is not a thing to be gained by lifting weights quickly. Some of the benefits of lifting weights in a slow and controlled manner, include more total muscle tension and force produced, more muscle-fiber activation both slow and fast-twitch fibres as well as less tissue trauma. Remember, a joint is only as strong as the muscles that cross it so if you haven’t lifted in a long time, or ever, be careful what you ask of your joints.
- Not resting long enough, or resting far too long. The recommended period that you should be resting is between 30 and 90 seconds.
Want to learn more about exercises which are good for beginners? Why not do a personal training course? Follow this link for more information.