The right combination of diet and exercise is one of the keys to a long and healthy life. While many people find adapting to a healthier diet challenging, that challenge often pales in comparison to the intimidation felt when working out for the first time in years.
Exercising after an extended period of inactivity may intimidate people who choose to workout at gyms, where fellow gym members may appear to be in tip-top shape. Overcoming that intimidation factor can be as simple as working out with a friend or working with a personal trainer, each of whom can offer the support and guidance beginners need when reacclimating themselves to more active lifestyles. In addition to the buddy system, beginners can employ the following strategies to make their return to exercise go as smoothly as possible.
Gradually build up your exercise tolerance. When you exercise, your body releases neurotransmitters known as endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body. Those positive feelings can be addictive, but itÕs important that beginners do not go too hard too quickly when beginning a new exercise regimen. Gradually build up your exercise tolerance, exercising two or three days per week and taking a day off between workouts when you start. As your body becomes more acclimated to exercise, you can start to workout more and with more intensity.
Stretch after working out. Stretching can improve flexibility, and that may decrease your risk of future injury. In addition, improved flexibility may improve your exercise performance by improving your range of motion and helping your muscles work more effectively. Muscles contract during a workout, and stretching after workouts can help reset those muscles to their natural position. Include both static stretching and foam rolling in your post-workout stretching routine.
Find a routine that works for you. Many men and women feel they must sign up for a gym membership upon resolving to adopt a more active lifestyle. While gyms afford you the opportunity to strength train and get in your cardiovascular exercise, theyÕre not for everyone. The best approach and the one thatÕs likely to be most successful over the long haul is to find an exercise routine that engages you and that you find enjoyable. If the gym is not for you, try to find a routine that still includes both strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Strength training can make your body more durable, and cardiovascular exercise can reduce your risk for various health problems, including heart disease.
Track your progress. One way to stay motivated is to keep track of your progress. If youÕre working out but not monitoring your results, you may not feel like youÕre getting anywhere. Keep a workout diary, tracking both your successes and failures, so you can see whatÕs working and whatÕs not. The longer you stay committed to your workout routine, the greater the likelihood that you will be tracking more successes than failures, and those successes can provide the motivation to keep you going on those inevitable days when you want to skip workouts.
Returning to exercise after an extended period of inactivity can be quite the challenge, but itÕs nothing motivated men and women cannot overcome.