Most physicians recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for adults, at about 5 days per week. If this seems daunting compared to your current activity level, don’t worry - there are many easy ways you can work up to this amount of exercise, no matter your current activity level.
TIP #1: DON'T OVER-EXERCISE
When you start exercising again after a long hiatus, it can be tempting to exercise every day before you lose your “momentum.” This is a common mistake - over-exercising is often just as bad, if not worse than not exercising at all. You could injure yourself or become too sore to continue your new routine, which puts you back at square one.
Instead, plan a specific and realistic schedule that you can add too later if you feel you’re being too restrictive. Commit to exercise twice a week, then slowly increase until you’re working out every day or every other day.
TIP #2: MAKE EXERCISE A NECESSITY
Start new habits, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Park further away from the grocery store so you have to walk. Consider getting a fitness tracker and commit to meeting a certain number of steps per day. To improve your overall physical health, adopt eating habits that will help you lose weight - which will put less pressure on your joints, and decrease the risk of injury when you do exercise.
TIP #3: CHANGE UP THE TYPES
OF EXERCISE YOU DO
Aerobic exercises are great for improving your heart and lung health. This includes running, power walking, or bike riding.
Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders! Lightweights can help you build muscle, which can help you stabilize your joints and improve your posture. Try using small, one or two-pound weights for bicep curls and other arm exercises. Use ankle weights to target your leg muscles as you’re taking a daily walk.
Yoga is commonly thought to be all about stretching, or meditation, but it counts as a form of exercise as well! Most yoga poses target certain muscle groups - your core muscles in particular. Strengthening your core helps your posture and balance, which can aid in helping you maintain correct form during more strenuous exercises.
TIP #4: MIND OVER MATTER
If you don’t keep to your schedule perfectly, forgive yourself and try again the next day. Don’t get caught up in guilt or self-doubt, because they’re more likely to motivate you to stay on the couch instead of starting a new workout.
Don’t expect to be perfect from the start. Exercise is a process - don’t try to run a marathon your first time on the treadmill. Listen to your body and meet its abilities with an open mind. Commit to exercising as often as you can instead of setting specific fitness goals at first.
Being fit is not just a goal - it’s a lifestyle change. Give yourself time to adapt, so that the habits you form have a much better chance of staying in place.