The health benefits of exercise have been proven again and again. It helps manage weight, improve mental health, strengthen bones and muscles, improve brain function, reduce the risk of disease, and sleep. When you’re just getting started, you might have some questions. Here’s your guide to start exercising and improve your health.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, you’re returning to movement after illness or an injury, or you don’t know where to start, talking with your healthcare provider is a solid first step. It’s good to get professional guidance on a new workout plan, especially if you have specific health considerations.
When you start exercising, it can be tempting to go full speed toward fitness. But when creating a lifestyle change and avoiding injury, it’s essential to start small. Shorter, gentler workouts to start will set you up for success in the long run. That might mean working out for seven minutes a day, or it could mean only three longer workouts each week rather than every day. But it’s important to listen to your body and talk to your primary care provider if you have any concerns. The goal is to make exercise sustainable in your routine to feel the results.
Some people love lifting weights or going on long runs. But if that’s not you, don’t worry. There are countless exercise styles that can suit a wide range of interests and abilities. Going for a walk around the neighborhood, bicycling in the sunshine, doing yoga, dancing, and hiking in the mountains all count as exercise. Find the type of exercise that will get you excited to work out.
What’s keeping you from working out? Is it time, energy, pain, or not knowing what to do? It’s easier than you might think to break down some of these barriers to getting started. Sometimes, just setting out your workout clothes and shoes the night before a morning workout can help you feel motivated. Or, if you’re dreading going to the gym, maybe try an at-home exercise instead.
It can be challenging to know what to do when you're just starting. Establishing a workout plan with your care provider, personal trainer, or a training app makes it simpler. Plenty of pre-made workout plans are available, both free and for a fee. Find the one that feels right for you, so you’re never wondering what you should do for exercise that day.
When you’re short on time, it’s normal to want to get right into the workout. And it makes sense to finish up and move on to your next activity, chore, work, or time with family after. But warming up before and cooling down after your workout are key to preventing injury, especially if you’re new to exercise. Don’t skip these crucial steps.
When you’re just starting a workout plan, it can feel uncertain if you haven’t exercised before or are returning from a long break. Making an appointment at a CHP clinic lets you discuss any questions with your provider. And your annual preventative care visit is the perfect opportunity. Make an appointment, and find affordable healthcare in your community.