#1 Assessment of Fitness Level
You are probably aware of your existing fitness levels. However, it is important to assess and record your baseline fitness score in order to measure your progress. Recording of baseline fitness is necessary to set benchmarks. In order to set proper baseline parameters for body composition, aerobic fitness, flexibility, and muscular fitness, record these:
Pulse rate – before and after walking a mile which is 1.6 km.
Time taken to walk 1 mile
Time taken to run 1.5 miles or 2.41 km.
Number of standard or modified push-ups at a time
Forward reach when you are on the floor seated with legs in front of you.
Circumference of your waist measured just above the hip bones.
Body mass index
#2 Fitness Program Design
You might want to promise yourself that you’re going to exercise every day but you need to have a plan in place. Therefore, you need to design a unique fitness program considering these points:
Have clarity about your fitness goals. Think about why you are starting this fitness program; whether it is to lose weight or whether you want to prepare for a marathon or some other specific goal. Having clarity regarding your goals will keep you motivated and will also help you manage your progress.
You need to have a balanced routine. As per the recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services, an individual should perform at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week. It could also be a combination of vigorous and moderate activity. It is recommended to spread out this exercise time over the week.
More exercise time generally means better health. While more exercise is always better but a moderate amount of physical activity can also be really helpful. If you remain active for a short amount of time throughout your day, it can also provide huge health benefits.
All the major muscle groups in your body should be indulged in strength training exercise at least 2 times each week. You should try to perform a single set of each exercise with the help of a resistance level or a weight which should be heavy enough to tire the muscles when you perform 12 to 15 repetitions.
Begin low and move slow. When you are just starting, you need to be cautious and move slowly. It is important for you to consult an exercise therapist or your doctor in case you have some minor medical condition or an injury to help design your fitness program in order to gradually improve endurance, strength, and range of motion. Make physical activity a part of your daily routine.
It can be a challenge to find enough time to exercise regularly. Therefore, you need to find time for exercise like any other important task during the day. For instance, if you want to watch your favorite show, do it while you are working on the treadmill or try to read your favorite book when you are riding a stationary bike, or try to take a short break at work to go on a walk.
Try to include a mix of activities in your fitness plan. It will allow you to keep things interesting and prevent that exercise boredom. Cross-training (different types of physical activity) with low-impact activities such as water exercise or biking also help in reducing the chances of getting injured or overusing a particular joint or a specific muscle. Keep changing among activities that exercise different muscle groups in your body such as strength training, swimming, and walking.
Consider high interval intensity training. In this type of training, high-intensity activity is performed in short bursts and it is followed by a recovery period where you perform a low-intensity activity.
Make sure you give your body enough time to recover. In most cases, people begin to exercise with a missionary zeal but they end up working out for too long or with too much intensity which usually leads to one of the muscles or joints getting injured and they give up. You need to give adequate time to your body to recover in order to keep going.
Make sure your fitness plan is there on paper as having a written plan will help you stick to it.
#3 Get the Right Equipment
In most cases, you will begin with athletic shoes. There are all kinds of shoes and you need to be careful to choose the right one based on the physical activity you have decided. For instance, cross-training shoes tend to be more supportive whereas running shoes tend to be lightweight. Take a look at the Orthotic Shop to find the most suitable running shoes for you.
In case you are planning to buy your own exercise equipment, buy something that’s easy to use, enjoyable and practical. It is also recommended to try certain equipment at a fitness center before spending your own money. You might also want to use certain fitness apps designed for smart devices or various other types of activity trackers that will allow you to keep track of calories burned, distance covered, or monitoring of heart rate.
Now that you are raring to get going, here are a few tips to consider once you start the fitness program:
You need to start slowly at the beginning and build up momentum gradually. Always give yourself enough time to warm up as well as cool down with gentle stretching or easy walking. After warm up, speed up your activity to a level where you can keep performing for a period of 5 to 10 minutes without the need to take a break. Your stamina will improve with time and as it improves, you can always enhance your exercise time. Slowly increase your exercise time from half-an-hour to an hour for most days of your week.
Feel free to take a break if you want to. All the exercises do not need to be performed at one time and you should feel free to perform physical activities throughout your day. If you want to have short sessions, it’s fine but try to do them more frequently to get those aerobic benefits. If you are unable to fit in a single 30-minute session each day of the week, try consider breaking it into smaller sessions. In short, it’s better to indulge in some kind of activity than doing nothing at all.
Get creative with your workout routine by including a variety of activities such as rowing, bicycling or walking. Think bigger. Consider taking a weekend hike with the family or you might want to indulge in ballroom dancing. Try to think of ways to include physical activities you enjoy into your exercise routine.
Always follow your instincts. If your body is telling you to take a break, you should. If you’re experiencing nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, or pain, stop exercising. It’s a sign that your body is not yet ready for that level of intensity.
Always be flexible with your fitness routine and feel free to take off a day or two in case your body is just not feeling good.